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In Season Mid Spring in Northern NSW

Aren’t they gorgeous?  These are the strawberries in the new patch.  It really does make a huge difference to the yield to replant strawberry runners in a new patch, with fresh compost and lots of mulch.  These are the plants I potted up in midsummer, in their the first year of bearing in a new, sheet composted bed.

It’s so good to have strawberries, after months of citrus and custard apples.  I do love the winter fruit but the change of season is so exciting.  We have the last of the citrus but the first of the berries (strawberries and mulberries here, and blueberries very soon) and the very first of the season’s papaya.

The season hasn’t quite changed yet for vegetables though.  I’m still picking lots of  broccoli, snow peas, peas, silver beet, spinach, kale, celerybroad beans and cabbages of various kinds.  We’re eating cauliflowers and finally the brussels sprouts. There’s plenty of lettuces of several kinds,  lots of rocket, and as much of the leafy annual herbs – parsleycorianderdill as we like, all strarting to go to seed though, so soon I’ll be harvesting coriander, dill and celery seed for the spice rack.  I’m also harvesting mustard seed for making seeded mustard, and for adding to pickles and curries.  Carrots and leeks and spring onions andbeets are all still in season.

The only vegetable that is really new is asparagus, and it isn’t around for very long so I make the most of it.

So that’s the produce I’m basing my cooking around at the moment.

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • kymber September 27, 2011, 12:35 pm

    oh my…picture me drooling all over my nightgown as i prepare to go to bed…note to self: change nightgown!

    how gorgeous is all of the stuff that you are growing! i am not sure how i found you, we have a new blog at http://www.framboisemanor.blogspot.com ….and i found you from somewhere??? but i love the pic of you and love what you are doing here. am now following you. and would love it if you would check us out and give us any suggestions or advice. we could really use all of the help that we can get. and we are not above begging. this comment is me begging!

    what a nice place to visit. a place that i will come back to often. if invited. you KNOW that we must be invited. teeheehee.

    i am looking forward to going thru all of your old posts. but for now this has been really nice. thank you.

    kymber

  • kim September 27, 2011, 3:58 pm

    Those strawberries look amazing. We are just starting to pick ours, but if we let them get completely ripe something comes and eats them (birds???)…always the outerside. Any suggestions.
    Kim

  • Linda Woodrow September 27, 2011, 4:05 pm

    Snails and slugs love strawberries. I have only a very few slugs at the moment and no snails, but if we get another wet year I might start to get them again. I feed them to the chooks – makes it fun to go hunting. Otherwise maybe birds? The bower birds would get all of mine if I didn’t have them netted.

  • cyndi September 27, 2011, 5:46 pm

    wow! not too shabby!!

  • Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial September 28, 2011, 7:20 am

    Strawberries – we don’t have a great deal of luck! The plants grow prolifically, but any berries are eaten almost instantly by something – often before the fruit is even ripe. I think we might need to move them off the ground into hanging baskets – they’re just not working on the ground for us. Everything eats them – from the slugs to the birds to Bob the dog. 🙂

    Linda, what’s a sheet composted bed, please? Is it one you put black plastic down to protect from slugs and then poke holes in the plastic to plant the strawberries?

    You have so much treasure in your garden! We’ve finished kale and yesterday we picked off the last of this round of peas. Lots of lettuce at the moment – we’ve planted a little patch of non-heading lettuce and yesterday I went out with scissors and gave it a haircut, which resulted in a whole bowl of lettuce leaves! Also some wild rocket in the mix, as well as lots of kohlrabi which we’re growing instead of cabbage this year (much fewer pests and we can simply scatter the seeds and they’ll come up) and tons of perennial leeks (would you like some?). 🙂

  • Linda September 28, 2011, 9:18 am

    I have my garden bed fortress fenced these days, which keeps all the birds bigger than wrens out, along with bandicoots, wallabies, bush rats, padimelons, bush turkeys, possums, and even Bob the dog if we had one! And the mulch keeps the strawberries up off the ground and dry. It doesn’t keep slugs or snails out, but it does let the small birds in to eat them, and lizards. In fact I think maybe excluding the big birds like kookaburras, currawongs, and magpies encourages the lizards. Or maybe it’s just that so many years of drought has knocked the breeding population around. But whatever the reason, I’ve only had a few slugs to deal with. Sheet composting is what the chooks do in a bed, same as they used to do in a dome. I just throw them lots of mulch, a few bags of horse and cow manure, all the household scraps, a bucket or two of wood ash from the stove, weeds from the garden, etc. And they turn it into a 30 cm deep layer of compost over the bed. By the time I move them to the next bed, I can plant my advanced seedlings directly into it.

  • Jason Dingley September 28, 2011, 2:10 pm

    Previously had strawberries in pots. But with only a few pots you only end up getting a few fruit. It is quite a pitiful site seeing a family cut a single strawberry in 4. They are now in the ground and allot more of them.

    I did read keeping them on a three year cycle with 3 beds. If I recall right the previous years runners move on to the next bed and the first bed starts from scratch. The third year was claimed to be the most productive.

  • Linda September 28, 2011, 2:23 pm

    Hi Jason, I’m finding mine are most productive in the first year in a new bed. I get a decent enough crop in the second year, but by the third year it’s not worth the space. My system these days is to pot up plants towards the end of summer in a rich compost mix then plant them out in late autumn in a new patch that has lots of compost and mulch. Towards the end of winter as they begin to flower, I make sure they have lots of mulch to keep the berries up off the ground. After they’ve finished bearing, I prune them radically, cutting off all the dead leaves and runners, and mulch again. I get another year of bearing out of them, then I let the chooks have them.

  • tricia October 1, 2011, 8:36 pm

    I love that last photo. All that green!!

    Oh, and thanks for the strawberry advice in the comments above. just what I needed.

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