Berry Avalanche and a Better Berry Basket

Strawberry picking time is finally here. I got 2 gallons yesterday and 1 today.  I am so thankful that the strawberry harvest comes in early summer.  If the blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries all came at the same time there would be no way I could keep up.  Last year, I canned all the berries–turning them into jam or into strawberry sauce for pancakes.  I still have sauce left so most of these will go into the freezer to be used for smoothies throughout the year.  I will make a batch or 2 of jam. 

first strawberry

Lily invented her own “yogurt” this evening using frozen strawberries and frozen mango.  We added just enough water to be able to blend it and she ate it with a spoon. 

Strawberry plants need to be reigned in. They spread by runner prolifically.  I was giving away plants this spring as I was tearing them out by the handful where they had escaped from the raised beds.  A friend reported that 2 of her children picked berries from this gifted plant they had planted in their yard.  They declared them to be delicious–the best they ever had.  Exactly!  They grew it, they saw it ripen in the sun, and were paid for their efforts with an amazing strawberry.  Top that Kroger!  I  think we have forgotten to appreciate our food.  Growing some or most of your food gives you a real sense of their value.  There is no way I would let my hard-earned strawberries go bad. 

Last fall as I picked and picked and picked and picked and picked raspberries, I dreamed of a berry picking basket that I could hang around my neck.  I finally found someone thinking like me.  I  going  to need this. the blackberry harvestis going to be amazing.  Now, to get my McGuyver-esque hubby to perfect this:  http://tallcloverfarm.com/?p=93

berry back porch still life

One Great Saturday

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My plan had been to use this weekend to get the majority of the garden in, but mother nature had her way and there are frost warnings for the next 2 nights.  So, we spent our Saturday  at the Farmer’s Market and then spreading 2 yards of beautiful compost onto the garden beds.  Since installing the garden in 2008, we have come a long, long way.  There is very little weed pressure this year so I decided to try a no-till approach.  Instead of tilling and waking up all those weed seeds and disrupting the ecology of the soil, we are mulching with a thick layer of compost and then will roll paper mulch on top and plant into that.  Should be a lovely thing.  So, in less time than we normally spend on tilling, we have mulched and greatly improved the soil and prepped our beds. 

We are already harvesting plenty of greens from the hoophouse.  The garlic, which had the hoophouses constructed on top of it, is ahead of schedule.  I removed the scapes today so that the plants’ energy would be spent on bulb-making.  There is a picture of a scape in the slide show. 

We found a feisty garter snake and a baby vole (?) during our adventures.  Lillian was thrilled. You’ll also see the strawberries, kiwi vines, raspberries, and blackberries growing like gang busters.  I think within the week we will have fresh strawberries to add to our rhubarb.  We had a great time.