Posts Tagged ‘Everbearing strawberries’

Beans (left) and strawberries (right) were casualties of the deer.

All right, Bambi, I know it was you…and you’re in big trouble! Sunday night, I went down to the garden to pick some beets for dinner, and was horrified to discover the leaves on all my strawberry plants were gone. It looked like someone had mowed them down with a weed-wacker. The beans got it too, even though I managed to salvage some of them (shown on the left, the beans are “Royalty Purple Pod” and yes, they are purple, but turn green when cooked.) It seems deer also like tomato plants, because one of mine had the top eaten off.

How to get rid of deer? I’ve heard of some crazy solutions, such as sprinkling human hair around the garden, or shaved bars of Irish Spring soap. Any other ideas? If so let me know!

Oh deer! A tomato plant got eaten, too!

The evidence!

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It’s cross-over time in the garden, when the early Spring crops are ready for harvest, and the warm-weather plants and seeds go in. So there’s a lot growing in a small space right now! I’ve been enjoying lots of wonderful lettuce but we’re expecting 95 degree heat this weekend so it may not be around much longer.

The lettuce is “cut and come again” so I’ve had a continuous supply of lettuce for weeks.

The seeds were a “gourmet blend” of Flame lettuce, Salad Bowl, Grand Rapids, Oak Leaf and Red Salad Bowl.

Also in the garden—strawberries!!! I’ve been thrilled with all the strawberries I’ve gotten this year. Last year, which was the first year I had the plants, the yield was low. But so far this year, I am usually able to pick a small handful each time I go to the garden…just enough to put on my cereal for breakfast. These are red and juicy all the way to the inside. They are so sweet and delicious, sometimes I can’t help but eat them before I leave the garden.

This variety is called an “Ozark Beauty,” an everbearing strawberry plant.

The everbearing Ozark Beauty should produce berries all summer, until frost.

As kind of an experiment, last Fall (around October) I planted a couple of garlic cloves in the garden. I wish I had planted more, because this week I pulled up a lovely head of garlic that I can’t wait to try. I’ve read that you can begin eating it right away, or wait until the garlic “cures” by hanging it up for a few weeks. Since I harvested two heads of garlic, I think I may try it both ways and see which tastes better. This Fall, I’m planting more of these!

I wish I had planted more of these! Usually if I recipe calls for garlic, I double the amount.

Oh yeah, this will keep the vampires away.

Now, if only the basil was ready to harvest, I could take some of this garlic and make pesto! But the basil was only just recently planted. Also in the garden, there is swiss chard, onions, fennel, okra, 4 varieties of tomato plants, beets, red peppers, and kale.

This week I plan to go down and spruce up my garden plot a bit, because next week we’re having lots of visitors! The East Row Garden Walk is June 2 and 3 and our community garden is a relaxation stop on the tour. Come to Newport, KY and check out all the lovely gardens!

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An everbearing strawberry plant in early fall

Last spring I planted 4 everbearing strawberry plants in my little veggie garden. I didn’t get a lot of fruit during the growing season, but the few berries I got, though small, were a gorgeous red — right through to the center. And wow, what a powerhouse of flavor! Most of the berries I picked went from the garden straight into my mouth! (These aren’t like grocery-store strawberries that are white and tasteless inside.)

About the low yield, though…I think the main reason was a thief of the small furry kind, spied one evening squirreling away with one of my berries. Hmmm, what to do about that next year?

The everbearing variety is designed to produce fruit in late spring and early fall. My sister grows June-bearing strawberries and they’re every bit as flavorful, but they come all at once, hence the name. A third variety is the newer day-neutral strawberry which can produce fruit all season.

Strawberry plants like to multiply. The original plant, “the mother” send out shoots called “daughters” and if allowed to take root, will become a new plant. I kept cutting these daughters off to keep things contained in my raised bed.

In late fall, strawberry plants need to be mulched over with straw for the winter to protect them from frost. I tend to be very frugal (Why spend money if you don’t have to?) and looked for other mulching solutions. I read that corn stalks can be used, and in an old gardening publication from 1894, I read that one gardener used dried tomato vines as covering one season when straw was in short supply (and it doubled his strawberry yield the following season). Bingo! There were plenty of tomato vines in the community garden compost pile.

Shown below is the first layer of vines. I added more for a few inches for a good covering. Now they’re all snuggled up for winter.

The first layer of mulch

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