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Life is coming up strawberries!


It's a warm day at the farmette. Already 17C at 7 a.m. and getting warmer by the minute. Yay for summer.

Yesterday, I took my annual trek to the Durham Herb Fair, and once again, it did not disappoint. Lots of plants, crafts and people milling around on a sunny, hot day.

I was actually going out to get some groceries, but saw the sign at the side of Highway 6 - and took a little bit longer to go further into the old town hall, where the fair was being held. Advertising works.

Anyhow, back at the farmette, we had finished the second raised bed, and talked about what we should put into it. It's in full sun for most of the day. So, of course, our thoughts went quickly to strawberries. YUM.

Luckily, one of the vendors at the fair had some really big, robust plants. The Red Brick House is a market garden business located near Dundalk in the Grey Highlands. They grow garlic commercially, and make the most amazing gourmet mustards and jellies. Plus they sell all kinds of herbs - and strawberry plants.

When I was talking to Susan Hard - the proprietor - I learned that growing strawberries is a bit trickier than just plunking them in the soil and letting them do their thing.

The plants I got are everbearing - and she said that I need to pinch off the blossoms until early July. I thought that was a really bad idea - I want those juicy, red, heart-shaped beauties RIGHT NOW.

But then I looked it up and found out that, if you take off the first bunch of blossoms on new plants, the berries will be bigger and the plants stronger later because the energy that would have gone into fruiting goes into the roots. Because they're everbearing, they'll blossom again, and I'll have strawberries in August instead. Okay, so delayed satisfaction, but I think I'll take her advice.

After getting home, it was a matter of loading up the cart with the topsoil we bought earlier in the spring, hoiking it around the back with the tractor, and shovelling the rich loam into the homemade bed. Which is why today, my poor middle-aged body is complaining and I've already popped some much-needed Tylenol.

But the real thrill came when I troweled in the dozen lovely plants I had bought and gave them a good drink. See? Looks pretty spanky with the copper corners and all.

Looking forward to later summer and chomping into the luscious red berries - topped with Devon cream or vanilla ice cream on the side. We may even have enough to make jam.

Diet be damned when it's strawberry season!

Rob and I are taking a wee break - going to Halifax for a week of touristy fun - so will have to catch up the posts on the 23rd. Until then.


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