Monday, June 03, 2013

A Bountiful Harvest of Strawberries

We've been away for about 10 days, visiting our daughter down in Florida.  I spent the week prior to our departure trying frantically to get all the plants in the ground (and I mostly succeeded at that!), then I just chilled out on the trip, enjoying the fruits of other people's labor as I noticed beautifully blooming plants or oohed and aahed over vegetable gardens that we passed.

When we got back home, our gardens had outdone themselves in growing while we were gone.  For better and for worse, the growth spurt included weeds - lots and lots of weeds - so I have a lot to do before I feel  like I have a handle on everything again.  Thankfully our weather is fairly cool, especially compared to the last several years, so I'm not fighting unbearable heat when I'm outside working.

I had assumed that I would be jumping into battle with the weeds as soon as I got home...but our garden had a different plan for me.  Thankfully, we thought to go out and check on the strawberry patch before starting any other projects - and, lo and behold, it was just jam-packed with ripe strawberries.  There were plenty of over-ripe berries, too, but even after throwing those away, we were left with just over 10 pounds of strawberries, seen here ready to go into the kitchen!  (Yes, a lot of the green you see outside of the strawberry bed is composed of weeds, but that's work for another day.)

Getting a closeup shot of the berries allowed me to crop out the weeds and just focus on the mouthwatering goodness of the berries and the plants themselves.

I spent the rest of yesterday figuring out what to do with all these berries (it's the best harvest we've ever had at one time)...and then doing it!

We ended up with a delicious mid-afternoon gorge on freshly made strawberry shortcake, plus 2 trays of individually frozen, sugar dipped whole strawberries and about 8 1/2 cups of strawberry puree.  Mmmm-Mmmm, good! 

NOW I'm ready to start on all that weeding!


Melanie said...

W-O-W!!! What a great welcome home surprise!! My 15 year old wants to start a strawberry patch. .but I've never done very well with growing them. .Looks like you have it figured out!! Just wondering if you have everbearing. .or the kind that makes one big crop and then some berries here and there during the summer? Enjoy the fruits of your labor. .pun INTENDED!!

Gaia Gardener: said...

Melanie, I'd say to give it a try! Just be sure to put them where you can get water to them.

We've got a mix of June bearing and everbearing...I think. (There are also day neutral varieties, but I think our secondary variety is everbearing.) We've never gotten this good a crop before, so I'm not sure that I'm a good person to come to for advice - but, for us, a raised bed and regular watering seem to help tremendously. We did start the new bed last spring, keeping all blooms picked off last year as recommended too. Oh, and I'd get varieties from a local garden center, NOT a box store, to get ones that are more productive while dealing with our weather.

Jason said...

Few things are more delicious than really fresh strawberries! How great to have a freezer full of your own! Good also that you could relax during your trip, I tend to stress out thinking of the stuff I should be doing in the garden.

Gaia Gardener: said...

Jason, I tend to stress out before I leave, thinking of everything that I'm leaving undone. There are truly times when I wonder if it just wouldn't be easier to skip the trip altogether. Thankfully, I'm usually fine during the trip - until we're homeward bound. Then I start stressing again!

Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

Yum-O on the strawberries. I barely have any plants left after last year's drought/heat. Ours were ripe when we came home too. Just enough to enjoy them as a little treat each day this week.