A Berry Sweet Breakfast Harvested Back on May 19th
Realization of the Day:
It's somehow September!
If you're a seasonal eater in the northern hemisphere, apples and pears are probably the fruits in the forefront of your mind right now, but if you're also a gardener, it's time for you to be thinking about strawberries. Next year's harvest may be many months away, but berry size is actually determined now.
Strawberry Blossoms full of Juicy Promise on April 21st (and a cute little inchworm)
When I moved to Missouri and started gardening on a much larger scale than I had been in my itty bitty Northern California backyard, one of the books I turned to time and time again (this was back in the archaic pre-google days) was Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Chemical-Free Gardening and Landscaping Techniques. Since I was pretty much clueless, this book was a tremendous help.
While The Vegetable Gardener's Bible has long been the first book I now grab when I have veggie growing questions (I highly recommend this wonderful publication for gardeners of all levels—you can read my review of it here), I still often find myself flipping through the pages of Rodale's Encyclopedia because it's full of the kinds of helpful tips I just don't find anywhere else. I mean, discovering this simple secret to growing bigger strawberries was in itself worth the price of the book (which, as of right now, is as low as $1.50 at amazon.)
Growing Green on May 13th
Here's what a little sidebar I found in Rodale's Encyclopedia called 'Strawberry Futures' says:
If the growing conditions are favorable in August and September, you should have large berries the next season. But if conditions are less than favorable, your fruit will probably turn out to be small.
Now they don't actually explain what those 'favorable' growing conditions are, and it isn't as if could change the weather even if we knew what we wanted it to do, but the next paragraph says:
Researchers have also discovered that a few days of rain in the fall can mean the difference between a bountiful crop and a mediocre harvest several months later. So if it looks like a dry fall, make time to water your strawberry bed thoroughly at least twice before the end of September.
My Bed of Cavendish Strawberries on August 23rd (read more about them here)
Between the couple of good waterings I miraculously remembered to give my 4'x8' raised strawberry bed back in August and the 2½ unexpected—and much appreciated—inches of rain we got last Friday, I should be set, even if I space out the strawberries for the rest of the month (which is quite likely to happen).
So if you haven't had a good rain lately and you're anywhere near as scatterbrained as I am, stop reading this and go give your strawberry plants a nice long soak right now. You can thank me for those big beautiful berries come spring—if you remember, that is.
Here are links to my previous posts about growing strawberries, including one that explains how to prepare your strawberry bed for winter (because after watering now, we're not yet done for the year):
6/5/05: Strawberries from Garden to Kitchen
5/21/06: A Beautiful Breakfast!
5/27/06: Me, Cary, & Bear vs. The Turtles
10/28/07: Growing Strawberries & Preparing Your Bed for Winter
5/28/08: Successfully Growing Strawberries
7/20/08: Strawberries in the Garden & an Orange Yogurt Cake Recipe in the Kitchen
© Copyright 2009 FarmgirlFare.com, the fruity foodie farm blog where those gigantic commercial strawberries may be bred for size with no regard whatsoever to taste, but that doesn't mean we home gardeners can't strive for slightly larger yet still incredibly flavorful berries. With a little timely watering, our strawberry harvests can have it all.