Buttercups are loved by many. Not me. The plants just love the climate here and flourish around the swamp, in the low spots down by the river, in my lawn and flower beds. A couple of years ago, the buttercups started creeping into my strawberry patch. I had the berries in for more than six years, and to a buttercup, this seemed like the perfect spot to put down roots, literally.
Tilling the rows and running a hoe around the plants didn’t discourage the little buttercup. The fast growing invader put down a thick mat of green in and amongst the strawberries. All the extra vegetation kept the ground moist, I could almost hear the slugs having parties in that corner of the garden. That damp ground also contributed to the berries getting moldy before ripening.
A new start seemed like a good idea and I had planned on plowing under the whole patch after strawberry season was over. When it came time to rip the plants out, I got busy with other projects. Summer turned to fall, then fall into winter. I put off doing anything with the berries for too long, so decided to put up with the buttercups another year.
Under threat of my rototiller, the patch of strawberries did an amazing thing. All the conditions seemed to fall into place. The weather, my tilling and hoeing, the watering schedule; the buttercups still tried to take over the space, but the strawberries thrived and had a very good crop. Now I couldn’t plow them under, that would be like punishing your child after they got an A on an exam. The berry patch with the aggressive neighbors will stay in place, for now.
The plan still stands to take out this patch and replace it with a new one in a slightly drier area of the garden. Until the new patch is in and producing, my old strawberries will continue along with those pesky buttercups.