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Strawberry and thistle question

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Hi, I noticed something in my garden this year and was wondering if anyone else noticed the same thing.
I have a 4ft x 12ft patch of June bearing strawberries in my south facing front yard. I've had them for about 3 years, give or take. They have always stopped producing berries by early July. They did the same thing this year, except for one spot. I had a low growing thistle self plant near the middle of the bed. When I happened to walk past that spot in late September, I found fresh ripe strawberries under the thistle and about 6 inches from the edge of the thistle, and none anywhere else in my patch.
So, has anyone encountered or heard of this before? I'm not complaining, and I may purposefully plant a few thistle to see if it happens again.

In case anyone asks: zone 5, Northern Illinois, USA, Earth. I don't know the specific variety of strawberry nor thistle.
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Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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Al 2 Al : pictures ?
Al Cart
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I added 3 pics. One has a glove for size comparison, and one has an almost ripe strawberry. We got a frost last week (about 28 degrees), but this strawberry seemed unaffected.
[Thumbnail for IMG_20151023_145745737.jpg]
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Location: In the woods, West Coast USA
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Al, yes, I have had good luck with thistles as well. I was making thistle tea but the honey bees were crazy for it, and some of them drowned, so I stopped doing that. I mow the green thistles and soak them, then put them on top of the soil with mowed weed mulch over the top so they will break down where they won't hurt the bees.

They are a good source of potassium, where they grow shows there is potassium in the soil. They often do well in a pile of granite sand. Whatever else they do in improving the soil, I've seen it again and again. I've started looking for any weeds that the bees are crazy about and use those as composting materials as well.
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