74, no I didn’t add straw. Last year was the 1st year I had strawberries, and I didn’t think they wouldn’t make it. Our average low is -20 but averages being what they are, it means it could be anywhere -15 to -25 which is why I am trying to buy things good to -30. In a way it is good that the past two winters have been as harsh as they were after what had been a trend line of seemingly milder winters. That which can survive hard winters should be good for the long term. I wouldn’t have been happy to have had trees growing for 10 or 15 years and then die in the 1st hard winter to come along. I have read articles that the longer term trend for the next few decades might be colder winters, just part of nature’s cycles.
namelus, I haven’t heard of a nicola but will look to see if they are around here. On wild strawberries, there looks to be an abundance of them growing in parts of my lawn. Last year I thought to myself that come a SHTF scenario that stops us all from mowing our lawns, they will become part of an edible landscape. It’s the parts of the lawn where the grass doesn’t grow as thickly. I’ve seen paw paw trees in catalogs but never at a nursery. If I see one, I’ll buy it. It’s one of the reasons I bought the kind of property I did. There is always a spot to throw something in the ground and see what happens. If given a choice I go for the non-grafted trees but that’s not always an option. In fact most of the time it’s not. Nurseries are businesses like any other and I find most just don’t offer a whole lot of variety. It’s why I drove more than an hour each way yesterday to go to the one that I know that has the most to choose from. Interestingly it was where I found cranberries last year but they don’t have any this year. It was the 1st nursery up here that I ever found that had them. I’m always on the lookout for nurseries that carry different stuff. I started with just 3 blueberry bushes, one each of 3 types, figuring I would see what does well before buying more. I’ve also got some miniature blueberry bushes in front of the house as decorative shrubs, and they bear very well for their size. I’ve always got a few experiments going. Some work, some don’t but nothing ventured nothing gained.