Or is it for Swiss chard? because my chard is doing quite well, thank you very much. I am now harvesting two big bunches a week, and with all that rain, and that nice temperature, it’s growing and growing and growing – as you can […]
Most people who grow strawberries – or who pick-them at pick-your-own operations or even frequent Farmers’ market – are familiar with the so-called June strawberries. They bear over a few weeks from mid/late May to mid/late June here in the Northern Piedmont depending on the cultivar. For the kitchen gardener, that’s good only if you have time to process lots of strawberries then. I don’t know about you, but in May and June, I am always so behind with planting and new garden projects that should have been done 3 months earlier (and really can’t wait any longer) that I really don’t want to deal with 40 quarts of strawberries.
So last year, I got ‘Tristar’, a day-neutral strawberry developed at the University of Maryland. While the June strawberry flowering (and therefore fruiting) is trigged by a certain amount of day light, day neutral strawberries don’t give a fig and flowers as long as there is no frost. I get fruit from early June until frost. Last year, I threw agricultural fabric over the bed, and I actually got a few strawberries for Thanksgiving. I can’t say they were very tasty but it was a victory of sorts… Best of all, you can harvest the year you plant. You have to pinch the flowers through June after which you let the plant flower. Unlike the June bearer, the crop is spread over many months. From 25 plants, last year I got over quart a week. This year, I got a quart or two every other day for about 3 weeks. Then there was a lull for a couple of weeks, and I can see I’ll be able to start picking again in few days.
I love freshly picked really ripe strawberries, eaten plain, tossed with a little sugar and lemon, frozen for smoothie, but one of my favorite recipe – not the least reason for it is that there is very little heat used (something to think about in the hot muggy summers of Virginia) – is Strawberry Sorbet. Here is the recipe I use: (more…)