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Last year I planted some strawberries which didn't produce much. I told Paul to wait until next year. And next year it is! We had so many strawberries that we ate them for dessert every night. Yum, yum.
That is, until Paul started getting hives! They got worse for days after they first appeared. Even his palms and soles had welts! It looked appalling, and he suffered so much. All the doctor could say is take benadryl and wait.
He's never had problems with strawberries before, but we couldn't think of anything else that could have caused it. I guess we'll have to pull up the strawberry plants. :(
So it's actually kind of sad. . .my first round of hot weather seeds failed (cayenne, sun gold tomatoes, and green zebra tomatoes). IF they came up, I killed them. And what's worse, I did it with the peas and lemon cukes, too. Transplanted those guys and they withered and died. The good news with the peas is that I have them direct sown outside and they are starting to pop up out there so I won't have to worry about it. ;o)
The cukes and tomatoes I tried again (and the cayenne pepper). I've got them sprouting, but I think I killed the tomatoes cuz I transplanted them too early, I think. The Sumter cukes I started this time took off way too fast (faster than I expected), so they HAD to get transplanted. I dusted some RooTone on them and they seem to have suffered no ill effects from the transplant. . .but I did the same thing with the tomatoes and they started drooping instantly. I've got some more, so it's all good. Gardening is just an experiment, right?
The garlic I've transplanted looks good and it looks like the oregano is coming back (I didn't kill it after all!). . .and all the plants I got (lemon balm, thyme, oregano, sweet woodruff, etc) ALL look really good. I'm glad I didn't mess those up. The clippings we got look a little thirsty, and I've been watering them, so we'll see if those take. . .
I transplanted my first round of Cilantro. Thank God for easy to grow plants, or I'd be pretty depressed and surrounded by death right now. . .and I got that transplanted with no problems (so far) and the same thing with the Tokyo Green Onion. Only one of each plant survived, which I thought was a little weird, considering the amount of seeds and space they had to grow. I put the pansies in that container instead, since my mom uses those flowers for food decorating. Now she can just grab them off the sill instead of trekking out to the garden.
Outside, my raspberries are coming along nicely. Lots of new shoots and older canes. Can't wait to harvest those! Raspberries have to be my favorite berry EVER!
My strawberries are doing pretty good, too. They took nicely and I'm pretty confident we'll be able to pick enough of them for at least a really good fruit salad. ;o) Planted some tulips in front of their tire and I threw the lady bug in there for luck. . .
I planted more irises by our tree in the back. . .I forgot to mark them all, so we'll be pleasantly surprised when they flower and I'll just take pics and mark them then.
Picked up MORE seeds. Planning on starting them in trays pretty soon here - today or tomorrow, weather depending. If it's nice, I'm outside.
Have a couple more existing beds to dig up and a few new beds to dig out still. . .my back hurts already!
Since today is a little too soggy out for me to get in the garden, I'm inside, updating this blog and getting housework done.
I took Lily for a walk this morning, before it started dumping too hard and when we got back, we did a little inspection of the outside. . .checked in on the Irises I planted last night (gotta love gardening by deck light) and some of the bluebells, raspberries and strawberries.
Lily loves the bluebells. . .even though it looks like she's trying to poop on them. . .
The Irises were purchased from another lovely lady Gardener in Bellevue at a great price ($2 per tuber). And we went a little crazy, of course, and got $12 worth for $10 since the one I really wanted, she wasn't sure she had, but we did leave with some white, dark purple, brown/rust, and maybe a lavender. . .the whites I am saving for something special and the brown/purples I planted by some of the bluebells under the tree. . .I wasn't sure about the light, but I dug where there was grass so I'm assuming that if the grass grows, there's enough light for the irises in the same spots, right? And I potted one for the deck. We'll see how that does. In the pot, I put a tbsp. or so of Fish Bone Meal directly under the tuber (as per the instructions on the box). The ones I planted in the ground I put no Fish Bone Meal in adn the light is similar. . .so it's battle of the soil.
Does Fish Bone Meal REALLY work? Probably, but now I'll have proof!
The strawberries we got from a lovely lady in Bothell who shared her Everbearing strawberries with us at the bargain price of $1 per plant! So, of course, we got 5 since it's such a great deal, but I want to put them in a tire that we have. . .and there's only room for 3. So I shared our extra with my friend who shared her bluebells with me. I think it's a good deal. ;o)
The "new" strawberries
And our raspberries are coming back. . .I was a little worried there for a minute. All the canes looked dead for a good long while there. . .but they're budding so I figured we're good to go!
You can't really tell in the picture, but there are some new leaf buds popping up on the canes, as well as new shoots coming up from the ground.
Oh! And I've decided to change up my plan for the new beds. Instead of putting a 9' x 9' bed in the back corner, I think I wanna add a border to the fenceline first (gets better light than the corner), and maybe expand to the corner next year. I figure the 1st tire will house a blueberry bush (and maybe the 2nd, or 3rd - just haven't decided which one yet -- OR -- I may just add another tire in front of the empty fence post in between the 1st & 2nd tires) and the rest will be potatoes, when they're ready to go out. No luck sprouting them yet - as it turns out, that process is only super easy when you DON'T want it to happen.
And I still need to compile my noted from my seedlings re: progress. . .since it doesn't look like it'll stop raining any time soon, I just may have time today to get that done. . .
C came home with several nice pickerel (walleye) from his fishing trip. What a treat!
It's very warm here today - upwards of 80 degrees. I know that's relatively mild to some of you southerners, but the sudden change in the weather from cool and wet to very warm makes it seem even warmer. I don't think I had a single mosquito bite today, but the horseflies were out in droves. I think the change in the weather made them less alert than usual, because I was able to smack three of them - after they bit me, of course.
We went to the farm and discovered that our cukes are up. Now if I can only keep those darned beetles at bay. Ontario has strict new laws about pesticides and herbicides, so I can no longer buy Sevin or malathion. There are a couple of pumpkins up, and a few buttercup squash, but no sign of my gourds yet. C ate the first strawberry from our newly planted patch. We had to till up the old patch last fall. The weeds had taken over. I'll have to wait till next year to get any quantity. We've always had more strawberries than we could eat ourselves, so I resent having to buy them, but C and a couple of my sons-in-law plus a lot of grandkids can't be deprived of home made strawberry jam. Pears are beginning to form on one of our trees. The other tree, which is a year older (12) has never borne fruit. I'm guessing it's because it takes the brunt of the wind and the blossoms get blown off, but that's just my best guess. Most of our spuds are up and so far we've only found three potato bugs. They're sneaky little devils, though. We have to watch carefully. C squishes them, but I'm too squeamish unless I have gloves on. I drown them in a bucket of water. We're going to have to replant carrots. For the first time in 12 years, the soil *sandy loam) was too wet for the initial planting.
I spent most of the afternoon tidying up my shade bed and another area adjacent to our shed. I turned the soil in that area last year so C wouldn't have to go at it with the whipper snipper. I put in a few perennials, but for the most part I intend to fill it with self-seeding plants: hollyhocks (or outhouse plants, as my mom calls them), bachelor buttons, forget-me-nots, etc. There's still a lot of weed seed in that bed, especially stinging nettle, so my hands are sore this evening. I was too impatient to put gloves on. DUH!! I was happy to note that plantain leaves crushed and rubbed on the affected area provide relief from the stinging, thanks to LynnChristo's blog.
While I was working on my shade bed, I came across a large paw print - way too large to be that of most dogs, but not as large as a bear print. Besides we don't have bears in this area, anyway. I showed it to C who was as puzzled as I was. We considered and rejected coyotes. The print was too large. As I worked my way along the bed, I came upon a second print - a little larger than the first and not as well defined. After working away all afternoon and upon closer inspection, the answer finally dawned on me! I'm pretty sure it's a grandchild print! If you remember, I created that bed using the lasagna method. The soil's still very light and spongy. so a child's foot would sink down into it and expand in size. I expect my step-son took his brood to the farm to let off some steam, and in their exuberance, one of them ran into my garden. I also expect that the little rascal got yelled at - hence, only two footprints.
I'm so glad I found this site - great members and great solutions ! ! ! Take care, all.
so sadly last friday while i was at work and my 13 yr. old niece was babysitting my girls...our dog, molly, got a hold of mumbles and killed him and a hen...i am so heartbroken...mumbles was such a good rooster....luckily we do have a baby rooster and 2 more females....no other rooster is going to be like him...we will miss him terribly...
update on wilbur...we are getting rid of him....he will be going to a nice farm with a lady friend :) where he will be much happier...
here are some pics of my garden...
veggie garden with green onions, hot peppers, green peppers, tomatoes, asparagus, lemon cucumber, & butternut squash...
strawberry plants...15...and in the pot at the end is clilantro...
close up of one of the strawberries...yum, yum...can't keep the birds from eating them...tried hanging pie tins with no luck...any suggestions...
Finally! A nice sunny morning - temperatures still a little below normal, but promising, nevertheless. Unfortunately, I have no time to indulge in my favourite sport - gardening.
It's garbage/compost/recycling day here. I need to dump some tired goods from my fridge into the compost pick-up bin; ensure that I've rid the house of unwanted recyclables - newspapers, cardboard cartons, box board, along with the stuff I put into the bin every day; and lug all containers to the curb. I'm committed to the program, but that doesn't make it any easier.
I need to take my van to a nearby town for an emissions test so that I can get a new sticker for my licence plate before the current one expires. While there, I want to purchase some strawberry roots to fill in some bare spots in our newly transplanted (last fall) patch. I'll meet my youngest daughter and we'll go together to the garden centre where we'll both purchase other plants as well. Neither of us needs more plants, but the "I wants" will set in.
Just time enough to get home and prepare a cold supper for my husband, before heading off to a council meeting scheduled for 6:00. If I'm not there by 5:20, I'll have to stand through what promises to be a very long meeting. Along with a large segment of our community, I'm opposing the rezoning of property adjacent to one of the largest wetland preserves in Ontario and the headwaters of a major river for the purpose of storing explosives used in the mining industry. I'm not opposed to the operation, per se, but to its location. A spill of ammonium nitrate could contaminate the marsh, the river and various aquifers necessary to clean drinking water throughout southern Ontario. I can't believe that the local, provincial and federal governments have even considered allowing it to operate in its current location, but each agency seems to pass the buck to the next. Duh!! I'm afraid it's a case of one agency being afraid to step on the toes of another. In the meantime, each of them has lost sight of what is critical to our environment. No decision will be made this evening, but I'll likely rant on about this in future.
I'm heading up to visit with my mom early tomorrow morning, so you won't have to read about my frustrations with the process until later in the week. I'll try to appease you by taking and posting those photos of the fresh greens of the near north on my journey.
~October 4th, 2008~
I had a few questions regarding strawberries. My Mother-In-Law and I planted some strawberries 2 years ago (both ever-bearing as well as June-bearing types) and they have now flourished into a 7'X7' patch. The problem we have is that it is so thick we can't get into the middle to pick the strawberries. Also the plants seem to be so thick and bushy that the small and not ripe berries never get the chance to ripen in the sun. The berries seem to be pretty small as well. I transplanted some "runners" into my garden last spring ('07) and the plants haven't produced much and when they did, they were small too. So, knowing my situation, my questions are:
1.) Do strawberries need sun to ripen?
1a.) If so, how do you get the sun to the strawberries under the big bushy leaves?
2.) What methods would you use to "thin" or make it possible to get to the middle of the 7'X7' block?
3.) Do "runners" produce the same amount/quality of fruit as the original/mother plants?
4.) What kind of fertilization methods do you recommend/use to help the plants produce larger berries?
I look forward to your answers! Thank you for your help.
I'm growing increasingly frustrated as I thought I would have an overabundance of everything daily by now. So far though, I've only gotten a trickling of various things here and there every day or every other day. A little bit of lettuce, a handful of sugar snap peas, a few zucchinis and yellow squashes, a bit of spinach and swiss chard, 7 cherry tomatoes (not all at once), a pinch of cilantro, and a lot of parsley. Parsley is just about the most useless edible that I planted. And when you cut it, it grows back bigger and better. Why can't everything else grow like that? I was seriously hoping to have enough that I might have to freeze and can things, after giving much away. But most of it so far hasn't even made it to the fridge. ;) My pepper plants are just beginning to flower NOW. I'm thinking that if I had something that more truly resembled full sun, the gardens would be much further along by now. As it is, my gardens probably really only get about 4 hours of direct sunlight during the day and a bit of dappled light throughout other parts of the day. I guess I should be grateful to get the growth that I do. Those darn trees! Oh well. Maybe in a few weeks I'll have the giant harvest that I was hoping for, but I hate waiting. I've already picked 3 carrots way too soon, because I thought for sure they should be ready by now. And I hope onions re-plant well. I know they're supposed to pop out of the ground when they're ready, but the stem seemed so big and it had been so long that I figured I'd just better check. Now, if only my scallions were so slow to bulb! ;) It isn't all bad, I'm just waiting for that BIG harvest where I have more than I know what to do with and all of my ornamentals are flowering like crazy.
My blueberry bushes have put on a little growth-- about 6-12 inches. So that's one step closer to becoming the big beautiful hedge that I envision.
I've been working on digging out a hole for the peach tree and replacing/amending the soil. About 6 ft. in diameter and 1- 1 1/2 ft. deep. There's a couple of inches of topsoil and all rocks and clay underneath that, so as arduous as it seems, it really is necessary so that the tree won't drown and somewhere to spread its roots.
My strawberries are blooming here and there and I'm not pinching them off anymore. I'm not expecting too much this year since I just planted them this spring, so at least I won't be disappointed. ;)
My fig twig is beginning to put out a few leaves. I had planted it directly in the ground so it could grow well, but now I'm thinking that unless it makes some miraculous growth between now and frost, it might be best to pot it up and bring it in for the winter.
My Hansen's cherry bushes are leafing out and growing AMAZINGLY well. I just planted them 3 weeks ago and they've already put on several inches of new growth. I got those and the fig twig from Direct Gardening, believe it or not. I guess they can manage to do a few things right.
So, that's all for now. I'll post pics later.
I know i am behind on my blogs, but I have made (finally) strawberry jam! It took 40 strawberries! The strawberries I used were tiny. It is delicious! Today was a pain in the butt! I had to take an electronic weed-whacker and trim the grass in my garden. After that I dug the grass up. I basicly broke my back!
HAPPY GARDENING!!!! Mr. Garden
I had ordered a Contender peach tree from Gurney's, which I haven't yet received. They have however sent the strawberries, and a planting guide. The planting guide states that a standard sized peach tree will bear fruit in 4-5 years. 4-5 years!!!! Well, at Home Depot they had a 7 ft., well-branched Elberta peach tree which should almost definitely produce next year. So, I got it. :) It also produces about a month/a month and a half after the Contender, so it should extend the season nicely. They had nice sized fruit trees at the local nursery too, but the were very expensive, and I wasn't familiar with the varieties they offered anyway. I have also ordered some Hansen's bush cherries and a fig tree from Direct Gardening. They're a discount online nursery with an iffy reputation, but so inexpensive, I figured it'd be worth the chance.
So, I have planted all of my strawberry plants--27 Tribute (everbearing), and 28 Sparkle Supreme (Junebearing). All but a few are beginning to leaf out quite nicely. I should get a few Tribute strawberries this year, but next year is the year. Next year I should have blueberries, strawberries, peaches, maybe some bush cherries and figs, plus whatever annual fruits and veggies I may plant.
Thus far this season, I have harvested much of the spinach that I planted. It really didn't make that much, but was beginning to go to seed. It's quite delicious, but I'll have to remember to plant much more next year if I want any sort of substantial harvest. My zucchini plants have little itty bitty zucchinis on them and are beginning to bloom. Some of my "mystery" tomatoes are blooming and beginning to set fruit. My sugar snap peas are also beginning to bloom. Everything else is growing along well, but it will be a while before harvest.
All things considered, my "farm" is really quite small, but I can almost guarantee you that it's the biggest edible landscape in this entire suburban neighborhood. ;) And I have more plans yet to come. :)
We BBQ'd for Memorial Day yesterday because DD an DH would be on the road taking DD back to school. So my oldest DD an her family came over also. It was a nice day for just relaxing an cooking out. The boys played under the sprinkler for a while an of course we had to ride the 4 wheeler an hunt for huckleberries down the dirt road. For supper we had BB Chicken on the grill, cabbage I had frozen from last season (experiment success), carrots (white, orange, an yellow) made a colorful pretty dish sauteed in some olive oil an real butter, throwed a couple leeks in the last couple minutes of cooking. I've laid off margerine due to the info I found here:
Along with it my first picking of snap beans an fresh dug new potatoes.
Today I have planted Jade Beans after pulling the sugar peas, Turtle Beans an Mayflower Beans. All new to me this year an will be interesting to see how they do an taste. All from trades so there isn't an abundance of them but enough hopefully to at least taste them to see if I want to save enough seeds for next year to plant more. I am also working on a spot at the end of the house to plant some Cream 8 peas. I've been reading an hearing about with the fuel rising in cost that the food is also going to be going up to ridiculous prices. To the point that the average person won't be able to afford food. Its early enough in the growing season that there is plenty of time to still plant a lot of stuff. I dug a lot of my garlic, so pleased with them also. Usually I have a good harvest but the sizes just aren't all that. This time they were nice size heads. I put them in the greenhouse on the wire tables to dry/cure. I still have some yet to dig that aren't quiet ready yet.
My strawbale garden is doing pretty good, I'm having to fertilize it weekly cause they really aren't in enough soil to hold nutrients, but they need watering daily for sure. My red plum tree is loaded with plums this year, gonna make some good jelly this year. Also my Santa Rosa Plum tree is loaded for its size. About a year or two ago a friend of mine an I were talking about her apricot tree an how sickly it looked an wouldn't bear fruit, the Lichen had taken it over. She said she hand picked them off an sprayed a fungicide all over it an by the following season it had put on new growth an was loaded with fruit. I got home after our talk an got to looking at the SR an noticed the lichen was on it an was trying to take it over. I got busy picking them off an gave it a fungicide treatment an it wasn't to long I started seeing new growth. Last year it only had 9 plums on it, the year b4 that only 5. This year it is loaded with delicious, juicy, sweet plums. No bug holes or marks on them. I am so pleased I took the time an gave it the extra attention I did as it has well rewarded me for my efforts.
I am discussed with the Mayhaw Trees though. At $15 a gallon (may be going up to) I really wanted these trees to do right. That isn't gonna happen as long as there are cedar trees within a mile of them. Cutting them all down isn't an option. So I've decide to cut them down an replant some Hybrids that are suppose to be disease resistant an produce larger fruit than the native trees do.
I have just about finished picking strawberries, they are now coming in sporatically now. I have enough to do awhile so I don't mind. Not that it would do me any good, lol. I finally acquired a Tree Dahlia an it is growing good. I had potted it up for awhile til it had some growth on it, I planted in the front flower bed on Saturday. I can't wait for it to get mature an bloom.
Well I've bored yawl long enough, just came in to cool off a bit. Gonna go try an work on the bed for the peas awhile. Later, T
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Have a Wonderful Day.
I'm just plain tired of winter by now. The ice, the snow, the wind…it doesn’t help that most of my winter clothes (and my long coat) are buried in boxes somewhere in the back of my parent’s storage shed. Yes, they’re still there. They’re so far in the back, I couldn’t get to them without unpacking the whole shed, and that simply wasn’t going to happen. At least I have American Idol to pull me through.
So, the garden. The reason we’re all here. Well, honestly, not that much has happened. The strawberries are plagued with aphids, and have been separated from everything else in an attempt to keep the little buggers from spreading. My folks moved some of my plants around for a showing (house goes on the market officially on Monday) and no one remembers where they put the tiny Button seedling, and I have yet to find it. The poor baby is surely wilted and starved by now! Seriously, how do you misplace a plant? Anyway, the one pine tree seedling was thrown out on my mom’s request (it was in her pot, after all, and it was basically dead) and one of the apple seeds (at least, I’m assuming it was the apple seeds, and not a sudden appearance by one of the lemon seeds) has sprouted! It’s nice and strong, standing just under an inch tall and topped with two teeny tiny leaves. So...yay!
So far this week I have gotten some more kumquat jelly made, the same kumquat tree from my FIL's tree. Had enough to make a double batch. I like the tartness an sweetness going on at the same time. Got a couple deer processed an in the freezer, DH is workng on the last one today. So at least we should have enough meat (beef replacement, other than steaks) til next seasons hunt. Been picking up pecans on halves for an elderly gentleman in town, now just to get them cleaned up an bagged for the freezer.
I got out to the greenhouse an checked on everything, looking good. Watered everything really good, emptied some pots where things had died over the summer. Will reuse the dirt later. Cleaned up some trays so I can get some seeds started about the middle of Feb. Don't want to start some things to early thats for sure.
Today got some of the strawberry plants that are in the pathways replanted into some of the flowerbeds, only about 25 but theres more to go. I came home early today from work due to rain, but it was off an on which in between breaks got those in the ground. Dug up about 50 daylillies for a coworker that wanted some. I feel like I got some things done at least. Now to get rid of this headache I can't shake. Still want to order some seeds for the veggie garden, not enough time in the day sometimes.
I'm baaaaaaaack! Did ya miss me?
November is a hard month for me to get anything done, for one reason and one reason only: Nanowrimo! For those of you who don't feel like clicking the link, let me explain (briefly, I promise): Nanowrimo stands for National Novel Writing Month. Participants have from 12:00 am November 1st to 11:59 pm November 30th to write a 50,000+ word novel. You don't have to finish it, as long as you reach the 50K mark by the deadline. This is the first year I've done it and I didn't even start until November 5th, plus I'm crazy far behind on word count right now, but by golly I'm going to make it if it kills me! Which it feels like it just might.
Anyways, I know you are not here to read about my faaaaaaaaaaabulous novel, but about my little garden! My strawberries are doing fantastically, as I stated last time...a little too fantastically, to be honest. Some of the plants are so tall, they're tipping over. My tallest plant is actually horizontal for about five inches before turning upwards (all told, it's around 8 or 9 inches tall...er, long?) My dad told me quite seriously that I should think about a stake for the poor thing. Who ever heard of staking a strawberry plant??? I'm thinking about getting a slightly bigger pot so I can kindof mound some extra dirt around it and hopefully hold it upright; the pot it's in right now is a little small for that sort of thing.
The one Bachelor Button seedling is doing smashing as well! He put out a new set of leaves and is just fabulous. I think I'm going to try one more time to get him some little Button buddies, and if that doesn't work out, well, maybe he's just a loner.
The pine trees are 2 for 3 right now. 2 of the little babies are doing fantastically, putting out new growth and just generally doing awesome. The third (the smallest one, too) is really struggling. He hasn't put out any new growth, and some of his needles are starting to turn brown. He has pretty darn close to the exact same conditions as the other two, but for some reason he just hasn't caught on. I read on the internet that he might like having some dirty fish water (you know, from like fish tanks when you clean them out) because it's full of ammonia which equals nitrogen, so I gave him a little bit from my beta fish, but that was like a week ago and it hasn't seemed to help him any. I thought about asking if I could gank some of the neighbor's pine needles too, the ones that fall at the base of his trees you know? but those would take such a long time to decompose that I don't think that would help much either. My dad's going to bring me some root simulant to try and help the poor guy out, but if that doesn't work, I don't know what I'll do.
The lemon seeds look like they won't sprout. The only change that's taken place is that they are now covered in black. yay for mold. I haven't thrown them out yet because I figured the mold might help it break out of that hard shell (might break it down a little) but i'm pretty sure it's more or less a lost cause. Ah, well, I'm making Swedish Apple Pie with my mom for Thanksgiving, so maybe I'll plant some apples in the lemon's place! Bwahahahahahahahahaahahahahaha
Oh, yes, and even though I didn't really talk about it, the title is correct - today is the first snow of the year! It's pretty thin, as usual, but it's still the unoffical start to winter, IMHO. Let the holidays begin!
subtitle: The Failures, the Successes, and the Daydreamers
I haven't the slightest what is going on with those silly Button seedlings! I lost another one today and a third one is still refusing to stand up. Only one of them is nice and tall - just put up the second set of leaves! Though mi padre said the first two leaves weren't really leaves for whatever the reasoning was, so I guess it's the first set of "real" leaves. I have half a mind to get the biggest pot I can find and plant all the seeds I have left in it just to see what happens - how many sprout and how many of the buggers stay alive and upright!
But I have to share - my little tiny strawberry plants, the little babies that were so tiny and fragile and half-dead just a month ago...if only you all could see them now! They've litterally doubled in size and are so nice and tall and green and leafy and...and...beautiful! I must admit, they've caught me off-guard; I was hoping they would look this way by spring. Though, as I'm thinking about it, why wouldn't they grow? They have warmth, lots of sun, good soil (versus clay), pleanty of water, no weeds to combat...much better conditions than in my parent's backyard! Makes me wish I'd potted more than four plants...
Then again, if I had as many strawberries and little baby trees and flowers and other plants as I wanted, I would quickly be out of room on my windowsill!
On that note, I do have more pepper seeds (from my co-worker again)....I forgot, did I already say that I got more peppers from her? Well, I did! Both bell peppers and banana peppers. I held off on processing most of them because I was sick, but felt pretty good today so I stripped them all of their seeds and froze their hollow green bodies :) I have more banana pepper seeds than I know what to do with! So maybe I'll plant some of those too.....you know, just to see.
Goodness. I'm unstoppable!
Let's start with an offical disclaimer, eh? "The author of this blog has no idea what she is doing, and has admitted to making it all up as she goes. Any advice or examples given hereafter should be treated with great skepticism unless validated by legitimate outside sources." ;) Funny, yes, but also true. It's also a pretty decent first-impression-maker. So here is your offical warning: I am a rambling fool! Except lots of stories, random details, obscure allusions, jokes that aren't funny to anyone except me, and other cross-categorical nonsense.
Okay, so now that introductions are out of the way, let's get down to business, shall we? I'm restricted to container gardening, as I live in an apartment and therefore have no lawn to dig up. My apartment doesn't even have a balcony, so I'm further restricted to a (admitedly very long) windowsill until I can be creative and think of somewhere else to put my plants without management kicking me out onto the streets. As of today, I have a grand total of three pots hanging around: two pots with two baby strawberry plants each, and one much smaller pot I just finished planting with some Bachelor's Button seeds. I haven't decided if I'll plant anything else tonight, but I might. I have tons load more to plant, mostly seeds, and more space, but I'm trying not to go too crazy all in one night, lol! I'll try and borrow my folk's digital camera sometime soon so I can try and get some pictures of my cute little strawberry plants posted too!
ETA: I broke my favorite little blue pot today. I tripped over one of my mom's dogs and dropped it on the patio. After a little pouting, I figured out it was made by a company called Norcal. I guess I bought it as a part of a set, because I have three others that are the exact same except in different colors - yellow, green, and pink. Hopefully I can find one online or in a store to replace it...and then maybe buy an extra set too. You know, just in case.
When it comes to berries, Strawberries are definitely one of my favorites. To me, a strawberry that has been ripened to ultimate sweetness is a heavenly experience.
I used to think I would never have enough strawberries, that is, until I had over 300 different strawberry plants, which range across different cultivars and kinds.
I have at least 5 different kinds of strawberries currently growing in my yard. By request of AngelsGarden, I thought I would share which are my favorite and some of my experiences with them.
Overall, I like having a mix of everbearing and junebearing strawberries. The benefit of junebearing strawberries is that they have a whole lot of strawberries that all ripen about the same time over a few weeks. This makes it easier to be done with picking them. I like to freeze them for use over the months that fresh strawberries aren’t available. The benefit of everbearing strawberries is that their season is extended longer, allowing you to have fresh strawberries over a longer period of time. If it was possible to have everbearing strawberries year round, I wouldn’t need junebearing ones.
I have preference for different kinds of strawberries depending where they are planted. The way I look at it, there are normal garden strawberries, alpine strawberries, musk strawberries, ornamental strawberries, and wild strawberries.
I believe that when people think of strawberries they are likely thinking of garden strawberries. These are the kind you see in the store and usually see offered in nurseries and have the recognized traditional strawberry flavor.
Everbearing Garden Strawberry
I am growing Tristar strawberries. At one time I thought these would be enough, that with their longer season from June until the fall, I wouldn’t need any other strawberries. However, this hasn’t proven the case in my situation. The strawberries are average in size and the plants spread their season over a longer time, with a slower rate of berry production than the junebearing varieties.
In my experience, they require full sun, fall/winter work in cleaning up runners and dead foliage, and watering during dry times. Of all my strawberries, these tend to be the ones that struggle the most with insufficient boron, which is evident by misshapen strawberries that look more like mutant red growths than something you buy in the store. So, this is something I watch for and occasional have to supplementally feed the trace nutrient of boron for.
Junebearing Garden Strawberry
I am growing two different kinds of junebearing strawberries, Seascape and Whopper.
I got the Seascape plants on a sale that I just couldn’t pass up. The plants tend to be a little bigger than my Tristar plants and the berries also tend to be a little bigger. The first berry of the year on that particular plant tends to be the biggest one of the season.
I ordered my Whopper strawberries from Gurneys. I was really intrigued by their description of them getting almost as big as peaches, which has proven to be true. The first berries on these plants are huge, almost as big as peaches. Their size requires some special care though. I’ve found that if the berries sit on the ground that sometimes one side of them could get over ripe while the other side is still ripening, so if you can, you will want to try to raise the berries up off the ground. Since I don’t have the patience or time to do this, I tend to not wait for these berries to get a dark red for this reason, but pick them when they are still a light red color. The taste is still pretty good.
The plants are also some of the biggest strawberry plants I’ve ever seen, with them reaching over a foot in height. This year I’ve had some problems with the weight of the leaves and runners laying down on top of the berries, hiding the berries pretty well under the mat of foliage.
In my experience both cultivars require full sun, fall/winter work in cleaning up runners and dead foliage, and watering during dry times. I do sometimes see some problems with boron deficiencies, but not nearly to the degree as I see in my everbearing Tristar plants.
Personally, I believe Alpine strawberries are all around the best strawberries for landscaping. I’ve written a lot about them in a previous blog entry, so I won’t go into so much detail today, other than to say that this week I was pleasantly surprised to see a stray alpine strawberry plant producing berries in a spot that never gets direct sunlight.
In my experience, alpine strawberries can grow in full sun to full shade. They do require watering during dry times to continue producing berries, but seem able to recover even if allowed to dry out pretty bad. Very little fall/winter cleanup required of dead leaves.
In the past, at a different house, I’ve grown Capron musk strawberries and the Profumata di Tortona varieties of musk strawberries.
I had these berries planted in full shade with just diffused light to grow with and yet they were still producing a lot of berries and spreading like crazy via a whole lot of runners. If you want strawberries that spread fast, require little light, and don’t mind that the berries are smaller than garden strawberries, then I’d recommend musk strawberries. One thing to be aware of is that musk strawberries require more than one variety to be planted, since they do need pollination.
In the past I’ve grown lipstick strawberries.
These have a nice pink blossom, which is a nice change from the usual white blossom of other strawberry plants. They also grew much shorter than all my other strawberry plants, so would make a good low growing groundcover if you didn’t mind that their berry production is less than other strawberry plants.
Okay, I made 6 large tubs of strawberry freezer jam today and I'm not sure I ever want to see strawberries again until next spring. I followed the instructions on the pectin package, but I think it's way too sweet. I'm guessing the amount of sugar may have preservative powers, but geez. I like my preserves a little tart. I might give most of these away and try again with a different recipe. Anyone out there have a good one that's not quite so sugary? The one I tried was 2 C mashed strawberries to 4 C sugar, 2 tbls lemon juice and the pectin.
Any other ideas for what to do with all these strawberries? Divaq, how 'bout you? Have you found any inventive ways to use them up? I might have to have a roadside stand!