A Sheltered Life
Initially the strawberries started off planted around my grape vine planted in a a half wine barrel. But as strawberries do, they formed runners and clambered out of the barrel. Over the years they had formed a little area at the foot of the barrel, just off the corner of the patio. Unfortunately at the same time, the vinca minor had spread from its intended area. At first I thought everything would be okay, the strawberry plants were sort of growing on top of the vinca and it looked kind of cute. Over the years, I found myself getting fewer and fewer strawberries. By the time they would ripen they would have been reduced to pathetic shells by slugs and snails. I don't like to use snail pellets so I was continually on the lookout for snails and slugs each morning when I watered my plants.
I finally realized that the vinca was creating the perfect environment for the slug/snail contingent. During the day they would rest in the cool, dark, moist area provided under the vinca strands. At night they would crawl up and feast on the strawberries. So early this spring, I decided that the vinca under the strawberries had to go. If you've never pulled up vinca, it's a little like pulling bindweed. I also had to be careful that I didn't pull up the strawberry plants at the same time. It took quite a bit of time and effort, but finally it was done.
I have really been impressed with the change. I am actually getting strawberries again and losing far fewer to slug predation. Now I just have to keep my eye on the birds.
Escaped strawberries. (photos by Karen Metz)