Monday, July 30, 2012

Strawberries Galore! And Blueberries to Boot!


In addition to the fig trees, we opted to get some standard fruit fare, starting with strawberry plants and blueberry bushes.

Strawberries!

We bought several varieties of strawberries to see what would grow the best and what tastes the best.  We came home with the following varieties: Ft. Laramie, Allstar & Honeoye.

Theoretically, these plants all have different fruit-bearing seasons too - such as Junebearing (crops in June) and everbearing (spring crop and late summer/fall crop)... For some reason, however, all 3 are producing fruit right now, even though it is neither June, spring or late summer. Perhaps it's because I'm a terrible gardener and I planted them all in the middle of July...  Haha!  

Speaking of bad gardening... I'm also a little concerned that the strawberry plants are not getting enough sun where they are, but we had limited locational options due to the soil issues mentioned earlier.  If the strawberries end up showing low fruitage or just really tiny fruits, I might end up transplanting them to a sunnier area (probably after we establish our garden).

We planted the strawberries near the side of the house.  They get great sun exposure until 1 or so, when the sun crosses over the house.  We had to rip out TONS of plants (including yummy mint) to make room for these strawberries, and tossed out a lot of the old mulch so we could put in better aerated soil for the strawberries.

Despite the late planting and the less-than-ideal sun conditions, we did harvest our VERY FIRST STRAWBERRY today! 

Okay, so I know the first year you're supposed to pluck the flowers and the runners to establish more solid root growth... but... like I said, terrible (impatient?) gardener.  Hopefully our incredibly warm summer will also be incredibly long and the roots will still grow sturdily.  Hopefully.

I should have taken a picture of our baby strawberry... but... well, it was very little (about the size of my pointer finger to the first knuckle).  And it seemed like a bug had started to eat it.  So I had to pluck it immediately and eat it!  There was no time to lose!

I took the first bite, and gave Clint the second bite.  It was SOOOOO YUMMY.  Rich with actual strawberry taste!  Yay!


Blueberries!

We opted for 3 blueberry bushes, also in 3 different varieties - Duke, Patriot and Berkeley.  The Duke is an early fruit bearing variety, the Patriot yields early-mid season and the Berkeley is a later bearing blueberry bush.  

We already harvested 1 amazing blueberry from the Duke tree (we bought it with a couple of baby blueberries on it), but we haven't really gotten fruit from the others.  Well, the Patriot tree DID have a blueberry... but I think a bird or something stole it before I could pick it, and I was very sad!

We opted to plant these bushes into the ground.  Being in the same general vicinity of the strawberries (they're on the other side of the red stairs), I am similarly concerned about the amount of sun they will get.  I can't remember exactly why we put the bushes here.  

Our 3 bushes.  I thought they all had to be 16-20 inches apart, and then I saw that the outlier had to be 4' away from the others, so we had to put him in the grass.  Where the soil was also terrible.  We'll see how that works out...
I think because the area to the left (that isn't covered in grass) was originally filled with vegetation, we thought the soil might be better there.  WRONG.  It was still awful, haha.  

It was also really hard to dig out.  SO MANY ROCKS!!!  This was made worse by the fact that we had to dig extra big holes to fill with better dirt. And by we, I mean Clint.  I just threw rocks from the dig sites into a sinkhole on the other side of the fence where there used to be a well.

Here's a close-up of the 3 plants.

This guy ERUPTED with massive new growth!  YEAH!



I hope they continue to grow despite their location.  We shall see how they fare.  They haven't died yet... that is at least promising.  :)

Lastly, I took some of the mint that was growing where the strawberries are and threw them into some pots.  Now I have a vigorous mint patch!  I'm thinking mojitos for the housewarming party...


I'm also thinking of throwing some in the yard to let it take over the grass.  The grass isn't THAT great anyways... and besides, I've read that it smells really good when you mow the lawn.  :)