We went to a Pick Your Own Strawberry patch last week. It is somewhat of a summer ritual for us. We look forward to going to the patch all year long. Strawberries are very easy to pick. All the plants are neatly organized in wide rows(how they manage to get the strawberry runners to stay in place, I have no idea).
Rows of strawberry plants
Boxes, carts provided to haul the berries back to the weighing station.
Our kids love picking berries,way more than we can use.
As a result of all that extra berries lying around every year, my dh suggested homemade jams. I tried making some and they were way tastier than store ones. So, now I make jams (almost) every year. The combination of warm jam and bread is irresistible.
I ended up with 6 pints of jams. Even without the "boiling water canning", my jams in the fridge have lasted for over a year without any taste change. However, it is suggested refrigerating for upto 3 weeks without sealing and for 1 year when the jars are sealed through the water canning method. This year, I refrigerated few jars and processed the rest through the boiling water(just in case). The next day, they had a nice tight seal, so I feel good. Any of you have any experience with making and canning jams? How long did your jams last?
I noticed buds on some of the red onion bulbs that were planted in spring. After researching online, I've started wondering if I should pull out the onion plants that are forming these scapes. A couple of suggestions were to use the plants as green onions, due to the fact that onions will not form well, once the buds develop. Is that really true? I planted similar red onion bulbs last year, but don't remember seeing any buds on them. Also wondering if in the next few weeks all the plants will put out buds? So far, about 30-40 of the plants out of 200 have these buds. I'd hate to pull off so many plants at once, because my intention was to get red onions, not green onions!
If you know what I need to do, please let me know. For now, I chopped off the stalks, like I did for garlic scapes(and see if they're any good to eat). The rest of the plant is still in ground .......for now. Also wondering if in the next few weeks all the plants will put out buds? So far, about 30-40 of the plants out of 200 have these buds.
In other garden news, these are pictures of deer eaten plants and my newly re-wired fence. I added 3 additional lines of steel wire on top of the existing fence around several T-posts. So far, no new damage. Will the deer get aggressive eventually? The fence would easily topple if the deer decided to get its weight onto the wires. But I'm hoping that the sight of so many steel wires will spook it and deter any further attempt to get close to the garden.
This week has been sad, in terms of gardening. We've had deer problems. Inspite of the fence, deer has nibbled on lots of plants in different areas of the garden - Swiss chard, Peas, Tomatoes, Bell Peppers, Beans. It actually got inside of one garden and rest it was able to eat the plants from the sides of the fence. In all the years of having the exact same fence, we've never had deer either get into them or even graze from the sides. It was hearbreaking to see all the budding peppers and tomatoes eaten!! We have a really short summer, so I'm wondering if those that were eaten will bounce back and produce in time. I've been reading online about something to ward off the deer and found a couple tricks that might work in our garden. If you have something that worked for you, please let me know.
On to Harvest Mondays - Daphne hosts this every Monday, where gardeners can post their weekly harvest. I've had some new and interesting harvest this week. This was the first time we've been able to harvest Strawberries. Inspite of my "extra security" a couple of them were partially eaten. Also, Garlic scapes were new to us. They were really delightful just sauteed in olive oil and seasoning salt. White radishes were first of the season. Overwintered carrots started to flower, so pulled them up. They were just a few, but tiny and I won't be overwintering them again. Asparagus is still producing!
I have a small rectangular area for strawberries. It started with a few plants but the runners have taken over during the last year and created the garden as it is today. This will be the first year to actually harvest some berries. The plants started flowering late May and now I see lots of tiny berries. After reading about bugs, slugs and birds taking their pick of strawberries, I had this unique idea....
Looks kind of silly, but as long we get ripe, sweet, juicy berries(without a scratch - is that too much to ask?), it might be worth it. I fenced around the area with galvanized wire mesh to prevent the bunnies and deer and on the top I used a nylon mesh held together by clothes pin, to prevent the birds from picking at the berries.
Today, I found 5-6 red berries, but they still have a small green area that needs to turn red(am I pushing my luck?) before I pluck it. I think the sweet berries are ones that are deep red all around. I'm hoping the above fencing arrangement will keep the berries safe, but until I've harvested them, I can't really be sure.
A look at the red berry!
A top view of the patch.
The berries are quite small in size. I'm not sure if it is the variety of berries or if they needed to be fertilized(I haven't done anything to them, other than watering occasionally) to turn into larger size.
I'll be glad to have sweet berries - any size! It might be another couple days, before we pick them.
Every week Daphne hosts Harvest Mondays where home gardeners around the world showcase their harvest for the week. This week, my spring crops were pulled out, as they started to bolt. Summer crops are still growing and flowering but will not be harvest ready atleast for another couple weeks.
I planted all the indoor seedlings out into their beds over the Memorial day weekend. Since then, we have had temps ranging from 105F to 66F(just this week alone!). One of the tomato plant died, I have no idea why, whereas all the other plants seem to be doing fine. A few of the tomato plants are bearing tomatoes(they were flowering, while sitting inside, waiting for the weather to warm up) Seeds sowed directly outside - cucumbers, zucchini, yard long beans, okra, yellow squash, brussel sprouts have all germinated. With the crazy spring weather we've had, my yard is growing fine so far, hopefully we'll have a good harvest season.