Gardening Magazine

Charles Darwin's Strawberry

By Gardenamateur

Call it an unexpected bonus or, better still, something for nothing, but we've got a strawberry crop on our hands here – without planting strawberries.

Well, we have a crop of one strawberry so far, and so I guess technically it's just still a single fruit. But when the second strawb gets to 'situation red' we've got a crop on our hands, and it's courtesy of our compost tumbler bin that we have this sweet little developing patch at all.

Charles Darwin's Strawberry

I don't know what variety it is but let's call it
Strawberry 'Supermarket Surprise', because that's
where it came from. Pam loves strawberries and
we buy them year-round at the supermarket. All
the hulls left over from preparing the strawbs
go into our compost bin (as do all our fruit and
vegie scraps), and so all we know is that one of
those hulled bits of strawb survived composting
last year, and when I spread another load of
compost around late last summer, a few weeks
later, up popped a healthy young strawberry plant.

This plant has grown like crazy all through autumn and winter, sending out runners in all directions, so I've kept on feeding it and mulching it, ripping out the weeds (especially the rotten oxalis), and now we have a bona fide strawberry crop on our hands. Probably not a heritage type, more likely a gorilla of a modern hybrid, but it's flowering its head off right now and baby fruits are forming here, there and everywhere.

This strawb probably deserves a better name that mere 'Supermarket Surprise'. I like to think of it as 'Darwin's Natural Selector', as its story is a classic tale of survival of the fittest. There's something very vigorous and healthy about this plant which, amongst several hundred strawberry hulls tossed into the compost bin last year, managed to keep enough of its vigour and strawberryness intact to hit the ground running the moment it got a chance.

Maybe I should call it 'Gorilla'? Or 'King Kong'? Gosh, this naming new plant varieties thing is complicated. Maybe I should stick with 'Supermarket Suprise'?

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