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Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Take My Strawberry Plants. Please.

Strawberry plants were donated to the Bloomington Community Orchard 3 years ago. Today, they're growing out of control. Gardeners, they're here for the taking!

strawberry fields

Photo: Annie Corrigan/WFIU

Uprooting one strawberry plant barely makes a dent in the overall patch.

Strawberry Fields Forever (And Ever)

The walkway surrounding the strawberry patch at the Bloomington Community Orchard is losing ground slowly but surely. As the strawberry plants multiply, they are claiming more and more of the gravel path as their own.

“These were planted a standard 18 inches apart in neat rows,” says orchard volunteer Stephen Hale, but after three seasons of leaving the plants to their own devices, “It’s become a jungle.”

The initial batch of plants was donated to the orchard in 2010, but they didn’t keep track of how many or of what variety. One thing they do know is that these strawberries thrive in lousy soil and loves direct sun.

Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, he emphasizes that this is too much of a good thing, which is why he’s calling on community members to put on some old jeans and gardening gloves and dig up these strawberry plants for use in their gardens.

Live Long And Prosper

Hale wades through the sea greenery to find the roots of a plant and begins digging with his trowel. “The roots are also very dense, so it takes a little bit of prying,” he says. He severes the roots with a loud rip but says that uprooting and replanting actually stimulates new growth.

That new growth won’t come in the form of strawberries for a long while — these are June-bearing plants. He says planting them in a hanging basket during the winter months will do the trick. Transplant them into your garden in early spring and get ready for strawberries galore!

More: Visit the orchard to take home a strawberry plant of your own. There are instructions at the entrance for how to dig up the strawberry plants, but be sure to bring your own trowel and pot!

uprooted strawberry plant

Photo: Annie Corrigan/WFIU

Can you spot the bonus earth worms clinging to this uprooted strawberry plant?

strawberry field at bloomington community orchard

Photo: Annie Corrigan/WFIU

Strawberry fields go on forever and ever at the Bloomington Community Orchard.

stephen hale and sarah Ryterband standing at entrance to bloomington community orchard

Photo: Annie Corrigan/WFIU

Stephen Hale and Sarah Ryterband, volunteers at the Bloomington Community Orchard

Annie Corrigan

Annie Corrigan is a producer and announcer for WFIU. In addition to serving as the local voice for NPR's Morning Edition, she produces WFIU's weekly sustainable food program Earth Eats. She earned degrees in oboe performance from Indiana University and Bowling Green State University.

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