Thursday, 8 February 2007

Share and share alike.

Every year, as well as transplanting a few runners to increase our crop of strawberries and thus ensure good harvests, I weed out the older plants which become woody through time. Just as our kind neighbour shared her bounty, we, too, have been able to share our runners with family and friends, who, in turn, have begun their own strawberry plots. That way, these invisible lifelines continue to spread out like little veins from one garden to the next.

Strawberries are a very good crop for the amateur as they require very little maintenance, but yield amazing harvests. We chose a sunny spot in the garden away from the wind. In Spring, at the first sign of flowers, we give the plants a dressing of bonemeal around their collars and then weekly feeds with a general fertiliser. When the fruits start to appear we cover the plants with netting. Thereafter it’s a question of clearing the bed of any weeds which might compete with the crop.

Apart from our main crop, we also have a few individual alpine strawberry plants growing along the edges of paths so that we can enjoy picking some when we take a morning stroll through the garden. Since these ones are not under nets, we share them inevitably with hungry birds.

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