strawberries - Illustration by Helen KrayenhoffAbout 12 years ago when I first started buying small fruits for the nursery, I planted a few new varieties of blueberries and strawberries in pots to try-out for flavor and productivity. I started placing (hiding) them in different locations around the nursery yard. On the ground they were at the perfect level for children to find the ripe berries all summer long. Little signs in each pot say, “FOR THE KIDS! Not for sale.” Some of those original plants are still producing delicious berries. Those few pots have turned into (at last count) more than one hundred.

This summer, as you are strolling along the aisles, and the little ones are getting restless, send them on a search for ripe strawberries and blueberries. (A tip: They are NOT in the Cactus Section) They can taste a few, and then save some for the next kid (a good sharing lesson).

Of course we will try to have a good supply of these sweet treasures for sale for you to “test” at home. Some of our favorite strawberry varieties are ‘Albion’, ‘Eversweet’, ‘Seascape’, ‘Sequoia’ and ‘Mara des Bois’ (my favorite). A few of our favorite blueberry varieties are ‘Bluecrop’, ‘Duke’ and ‘Sunshine Blue’. They’re fun and relatively easy to grow in containers or the ground. Provide them with good sunlight, rich soil, fertilizer and consistent watering. Protect the ripe berries from birds, snails, squirrels and dogs named Pearl.

Happy “hunting” and…Have fun in the garden!