I’ve really been looking forward to these strawberries. (I’ve blathered about that elsewhere.) But above is a perfect example of what they have looked like so far. Downside: butt ugly. Upside: still insanely tasty. Cause: incomplete pollination. I know, I know, that shouldn’t even be possible — I have a beehive not 100 feet away! What I’ve learned here is that a) just because you have bees in your back yard doesn’t mean they’ll bother with your back yard. In the whole season the only time I’ve seen my bees anywhere in my yard other than in their own hive is when they usurped the hummingbird feeder. I don’t know where they go everyday but it’s not on my property. And b) I planted these babies waaaay to close together. Twenty-five strawberries in one whiskey barrel is serious overkill. These two factors are why I have a small and homely fruit set. Unlike many of the woe-is-me stories in the ‘Contrary Garden’ series, this one is an easy fix.
Interesting fact: “The extent of the malformation is closely related to the number of pistils on the flower that are not fertilized”. (From a fact sheet put out by the University of Florida Gulf Coast Research and Education Center Strawberry Production Guide.)