Archive for the tag 'Strawberries'

mtp

Hood Strawberries

strawbs

My first Strawberry harvest of the season! They are a variety called Hood, local here in Oregon. Some people refuse to eat Strawberries until the first Hoods come into season and now I understand why. Wow! they taste amazing. It’s nothing to do with my growing technique just a good variety at home in the Portland climate.

mtp

Do Strawberries Need Straw?

Good question! I’ve been growing Strawberries for six years now. Initially, at my allotment and then in my garden. I’ve only ever used straw twice, the first year I grew them, and this year.

It took me a long time to make the connection between straw and Strawberries – no really! I’m a little slow on the uptake sometimes. But when I did I was all gung-ho about using it. What happened? The straw blew away on my windy, hilltop of an allotment. Hmm…

Since then I haven’t bothered with the straw. I didn’t need to because my Strawberries were big, juicy and ubiquitous. This year they are big, juicy and similarly ubiquitous (as you can see from the photos) but… the slugs have found them. I found one eating one of my biggest Strawberries when they first began to ripen. Not good.

Out came the straw again. Because what do slugs hate? – anything scratchy on their slimy little bodies. Luckily, I got a Rhubarb forcer for Christmas that came packed in lots and lots of straw. I knew it would come in handy and it has.

So, this year I’m doing straw. Apparently, it has other benefits too like keeping the Strawberries off the muddy ground and keeping them clean from rain splashes. I have to say though a bit of mud and some water marks never stopped us eating them straight from the plant before.

But it seems to be working a treat. No more slug damage and actually the red Strawberries look amazing against the pale yellow backdrop too.

Do you use straw? If not why not?

mtp

Strawberries Ready to Ripen

My Strawberries are almost ready to ripen. They’re quite big but still green. It was mid June by the time we were eating Strawberries last year and what with the set back earlier in the year it could be later than that this year.

I just hope they ripen before we go on holiday! Arghhh! the thought of Strawberries going to waste makes me faint. Basically, I just want the garden to stop, stop everything, while we sit on a beach for a while and then when we get back everything can start again. I’m asking too much, aren’t I?

While snuggled up in front of the fire watching my favourite DVD at the moment, The Victorian Kitchen, I came across something that caught my eye. They mentioned that Joseph Paxton, one time head gardener at Chatsworth, designer and engineer of the Crystal Palace at the The Great Exhibition 1851 and all-round great guy, had invented something called Paxton’s Strawberry Crinoline.

I was intrigued and went straight to the Internet to look it up. Was shocked and dismayed to find, nothing, not a sausage about Paxo’s Crinoline. What? Really? So I’ve made it my mission to furnish the Web with data.

Here, in all its glory is a reproduction of Paxton’s Strawberry Crinoline. Sorry about the quality of photos as I had to take a shot of my TV screen! But you can clearly see what it does. It’s a kind of wire frame (hence the crinoline name) that sits underneath your Strawberry plant and lifts the berries off the ground. Thus keeping them free from dirt and away from the slugs – a bit like straw but better looking.

So there you have it. What a great idea. I’m surprised no-one is selling this – or are they and I haven’t seen it?

mtp

Plotting a New Strawberry Bed

My existing Strawberry bed is three years old. While it still has some life left in it, I’m plotting a new Strawberry bed already. I’ll probably leave the plants I already have in the ground for one more year, while at the same time starting a new one in a different part of the garden. That way there will be some overlap and I shouldn’t be left with my Strawberry baskets empty.

The Strawberry plants I’ve already got are pretty good (no idea what variety they are as a friend gave them to me). I’m using them as stock to create my new bed. I have five new plants at the moment. I’ll probably aim for around six or eight.

I started them off by letting a few Strawberry runners root in the soil. Once they had put down small roots I gently pulled them up and, while still attached to the mother plant, planted them up in terracotta pots, as you see above. When they have taken strong root I will snip them off from the plant and over winter them in my cold frame. Then in early Spring I’ll plant them out in their new bed.

Anyone recommend a specific variety of Strawberry. I’ve heard that Marshmello is quite good.

mtp

Strawberry Time

After the disappointment of the last few days I thought I would cheer myself up with a sweet little summer treat – yep, hold the front page, the Strawberries are ready!

There’s nothing quite like that first taste of juicy, sweet, slightly warm but oh so ripe Strawberry. And there’s only one way to enjoy it – stuff it in your mouth and eat it as quickly as possible. As demonstrated by my lovely assistant.

Now, if only I could get away with eating like that…hmmm.

mtp

Yummy Red Strawbs

Our neighbour gave us some Strawberry plants a couple of weeks ago and I put them in the seed bed next to the (still empty) cold frame. I thought that would be a good place for them since it has wooden sides and so presents a small mountainous obstacle to any snail type creatures. We’ll see if that one works. But I noticed today that the plants have turned a lovely shade of red, so I took a photo to show you. Yummy aren’t they?