Tag Archives: Garden

Strawberries of 2017

When we moved into our cottage (aside: Yes, I want to call this a cottage.  It is 1200 square feet with two bedrooms, one bath and NO STORAGE), I wanted to focus on the inside of the home and really make it ours.

In our old house, we did NOTHING inside and spent hundreds of hours installing chicken coops, chicken runs, turkey coups, gardens and trees. When we got ready to sell, we painted, installed new carpets, and made the inside shine.  I decided the new cottage would be different.  We would put our mark on the inside of the cottage.  After all, it’s on the inside that counts, right?

And we did.

Kind of.

We painted everything in the cottage except for the bedrooms.  And it looked great. But it’s been almost five months, and the bedrooms have yet to be painted. And then we stopped.

Now, I have 22 chickens ordered, two turkeys in the brooder and various things planted and planned to be planted outside.  So you can see I didn’t quite learn my lesson.  But the soil calls me,  having a part in creating my own food is so wonderful, and helps to make me feel connected to the real world around me.  I also feel like it’s making my place in space a little bit better and healthier, as far as the environment and soil is concerned.

For my record, as well as (possibly / hopefully) your enjoyment, I’ve outlined what, where, why, and the cost of what I planted. As I will being detailing our adventure thoroughly, this will be a series of posts.  Starting with our Strawberries.

When:

We  planted these on April 29 and 30.

Where:

I used the garden bed that was established by the previous owner to plant strawberries.  This bed is optimally placed.  It has perfect Southern and Eastern exposure and is shaded from the afternoon sunshine.

I have heavily mulched the bed with straw and wood chips.

 

75 strawberry plants of three different varieties: Sparkle (25) , Honeoye (25) and Ozark (25).  These came in the “All summer long” variety pack from Stark Brothers.

I love Stark Brothers for two big reasons.  The first reason is that they have the BEST descriptions. I’ve done research on certain varieties that I’ve found on other website and local garden centers.  I’ve found that the Google machine seems to send me to Stark Brothers page first. Secondly, I have an account on Stark Brothers.  This keeps track of what I bought and when. When deciding what to buy, I was able to access my account and see what I planted at the old house.

Back to the planted strawberries.

Cost:

I chose the “All Summer Long” package because it was on sale.  And I thought it would be nice to have strawberries all summer long.  I bought 75 bare-root plants for $18.16.  This was part of their anniversary sale and they were founded in $18.16.  If I would have bought each variety by itself, each order of 25 bare root plants would have cost $14.99 for a total cost of $44.97.  My savings: $26.81.

What:

The first variety I planted was Sparkle, a June Bearer.  Per Stark Brothers’ website:

Shining taste and appearance. Medium-sized fruit has outstanding flavor whether they’re enjoyed fresh, frozen, or in preserves. Plant are productive and easy to grow, bearing reliable crops of deep red berries even in northern gardens. Escapes frost injury. Cold-hardy. Ripens in late June. Self-pollinating.

Sparkle Strawberry

After that I planted Honeoye, another June Bearer:

A hardy, consistent producer. This vigorous plant bears crops reliably, with good runner production. The strawberries are delicious fresh, frozen, or in jams and wines. Cold hardy. Ripens in June. Self-pollinating. A licensed variety of Cornell University.

Honeoye Strawberry June Bearer

And finally, my “everbearing” variety, the Ozark Beauty:

Enjoy fruit and a protective ground cover. In addition to keeping weeds at bay, this everbearer produces wave after wave of sweet, delicious, scarlet-red strawberries. In our test plots, this is one of the hardiest, most vigorous, heaviest-producing everbearing strawberries. Cold hardy. Ripens in early summer and continues to fruit until first frost. Self-pollinating.

Ozark Beauty Strawberry

Why?

So, uh, have you tasted a strawberry?  Well, they are delicious, especially eaten directly from the plant, slightly warmed from the sun.  YUM!

I’m also planning on making Jam from it for my kid’s peanut butter and jelly.

How are they doing so far?

It has been just under a week since we planted the strawberries, and I think they are doing pretty well.  We had almost a full day of perfect rain for the garden.  That light rain that soaks deep into the ground an nourishes the root systems of plants.  Our strawberries have turned from brown to vibrant green.  I think they are settling in quite nicely.

 

 

My 2014 Garden – A look back

It is the beginning of November.  My chickens are putting my garden to bed for the winter.  All of my veggies have been picked and eaten, or preserved. (with the exception of some kale and lettuces).  It is now the time to look back and determine what I can improve in my garden.

Basics:

Planning:  I feel I would have had a better garden had a drawn out a plan.  I had a little bit of a plan, but nothing specific.  I “winged it” a little more than is ideal.  This is one of my personality traits that I really need to work on.  I need to take my time and think things out a little more.  I used to err on the other side of this dichotomy and go into “analysis paralysis”.  I would get so caught up in minor details that nothing would get done.  Now, I tend to just go for things.  This is good, as I get to experience and I try more things.  This is bad, as I could have had a higher more productive garden had I taken more time to create a plan.  It’s time for this pendulum to swing back toward the side of planning.  This plan should include the plants I intend to cultivate as well as their location.  I always have this plan, but get a little overwhelmed with the companion planting.

Also planning the timing of my plantings.  We have our early crops (peas, lettuce), are post-frost crops (tomatoes, cucumbers) and then there is time for one last planting.  So I  need to make sure my plan includes not only a parameter of space, but also a parameter of time.

Note Taking: I started off wonderfully.  I drew my garden on piece of paper and wrote when my seeds went in the ground.  After my first planting of peas and carrots, I stopped taking notes.  I just started to plant.  My notes are valuable for my future gardens and also with helping others with their gardens.

What I planted:

Next year I want to plant more:

Peas: Jaxson loves peas, and most of them didn’t even make it inside of our home.  They are also Nitrgoen fixing, so they leave you with healthier soil.

Potatoes: Almost every morning, my husband makes a pan full of hash browns and eggs over-easy.  We use a lot of potatoes.  They store incredibly easily.  No processing is needed to get them ready to store.  Conventionally grown potatoes are heavily sprayed, so you want to avoid them.  However, organic potatoes are very expensive, but growing them yourself is easy.  This is something I want to plant enough of so that I don’t have to buy any from the grocery store.

Sweet Potatoes: These are super easy to grow, and just as easy to store.  They require no processing, similar to the potato.  I recently saw organic sweet potatoes for sale for $3.99 for two potatoes.  Plus sweet potatoes have beautiful vines and have attractive purple flowers.  Some people actually use these vines for landscaping and never benefit from the tasty sweet potato.  Please note that sweet potatoes cannot be eaten fresh.  They must first be cured (that means sit around) for a few months.

Cabbages/Broccoli/Brussel sprouts: I love these veggies, but I always get so frustrated because they become infested with cabbage moths.  I think it may be worth the effort to plant some this year.  I’ll cross my fingers and we can figure out how to get a successful brassica harvest together.

Next year, I want to plant less:

Corn: This is a hog of a plant.  The directions on the seed package instructed me “to plant only in the most fertile of soil”.  I was put off.  Corn is good, but not good enough to give up my best soil.

Preparation: I will also prepare my beds for carrots with a little more love.  A lot of my carrots got stuck and gnarled on rocks.  They were quite difficult to harvest.  I believe if I spent more time to prepare the bed, the harvest would have been much easier.

Those are my notes on this past year’s garden.  What are yours?