Monday, July 1, 2013

Land of the Giant Strawberries

Giant Strawberries Held by Eldest Child

Wow!  These strawberries are huge!  One of them (on left) even looked like a double berry.   I believe these are the new Totem strawberries I planted this spring, but one or two could be Hoods.  For some reason, a few of them decided to be giants.  The majority of the berries were regular sized.  We have been watching these grow out there in the patch.  I let them sit on the plants for one more night last night, just hoping the bugs or slugs wouldn't get to them as they finished ripening.  First thing this morning, we went on a strawberry hunt and I picked these giants.  Not a blemish.

The lesson to this story is:  Don't pick off all the blossoms the first year you plant strawberries!  Why does all the information out there about berries tell you to pick off all the blossoms the first year???  I get that you want the plants to get nice and strong.  I did pick off the first several blossoms for each plant, but after that, the plants were so large and healthy, I thought they could surely stand to produce some fruit, so I left the rest of the blossoms.   I must have gotten them planted early enough in the spring to grow fruit the first year.  So fun to still be picking strawberries after the Seascapes have slowed down for the summer. 

In other news, last weekend I did go buy a half flat of raspberries and put up 4 pints of  raspberry freezer jam.  I also bought a half pint of strawberries for another batch of freezer jam.  I liked the first batch made a couple weeks ago so much, I knew we needed more.  I used the low/no sugar pectin to make lower-sugar jam as the amount of sugar called for in jam with regular pectin just seems overkill to me.  It is fun to let the kids eat the berries we grow, without too much rationing, so I've decided to buy what we need for processing and enjoy our fresh berries just to eat. 

While at the farmer's market, I saw they had tomato and pepper plants on sale for the season.  I could not resist!  Picked up a Hungarian Yellow Wax pepper and an Early Girl Tomato.  Got them planted tonight.  The pepper is in a large pot on the patio and the tomato is tucked under the eaves on the south facing side of the house in my "Tomato Alley".  The tomatoes I ordered from Territorial have been growing like crazy and we have bunches of green tomatoes already.  Will update with pictures soon. 

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