The strawberries are in mid-season and we have been trying to keep up on picking them before the birds get to them.
Between fresh eating and sharing with friends and family I have been starting to freeze small batches of the extras.
I do not like to add sugar to the deliciously sweet berries that I freeze, but there are a few tricks that I use on a regular basis. Continue reading
The daffodil bulbs have broken the surface and can be seen near the front of the driveway.
I always look forward to seeing the bulbs start to send up their foliage. It gives me hope that we will be seeing other signs of spring soon, and it also reminds me that I need to attend to the strawberry plants before they start coming out of hibernation. The berries need a light coating of fertilizer on one of these rainy days so that the nitrogen can soak into the root system before the leaves start growing.
Cleaning up the garden the other day gave me a chance to pick a bucket of strawberries.
No, these aren’t the sweet berries that we enjoyed so much during the beginning of the summer. These are the rock decoys that I had painted and scattered throughout the strawberry patch in hopes that it would frustrate enough birds to ensure a crop of berries for me.
I’m really not sure if the theory that I put into practice works. Birds seem to peck along at the leisure when there is a decoy laying around or not.
I have noticed however, that humans are drawn to the decoys as they step into the patch and I constantly have to answer for my odd display. Seems to me the birdbrains have the upper hand on this game of confusion.
I had been attempting to get the hoe in and around some of the strawberry plants. The buttercups are really a nuisance and the strawberry plants are getting too big to get around them well but I wanted to chop enough of the interloping ground cover so I would still get a good crop of fruit.
And to make matters just a little more difficult, the barn cat Boaz decided that he needed to keep a close eye on me and the long stick I was using around HIS strawberry plants.
Boaz would snuggle in and around the bushes as close as he could. Most of the time he was right where I wanted to hoe. This task was short-lived. It wasn’t long before I set the hoe by the garden bench and spent some quality time snuggling the mangy barn cat.
He acted surprised that I chose him over messing around the berries, the purring proved that he was appreciative.
With the strawberries in the garden in full bloom I once again took up my crafty skills and painted some rocks to look like strawberries.
Many of you may recall the last two years where I have been putting out these ‘decoy’ rocks around the plants in the strawberry patch when the blooms come on.
In theory, the rocks are supposed to attract birds early on before there are any real strawberries to be pecked on. The decoys make the birds disgusted with what they perceive as a delicious morsel to be a ruse. Then, when the real berries start to redden and ripen they remember how crappy the painted rocks were and head off to pillage someone-else’s garden.
In reality, the strawberries are a good conversation piece as visitors walk through the garden and lift a leaf only to find a decoy grinning at them. As for the birds, I think that the decoys do work to an extent but not in the way it was described to me. I believe those birds are so busy laughing at my silly decoys they forget to go eat my berries.
All in all, I count this as a success.
The strawberries are blooming!That is a sure sign of spring. I have also noticed that the birds have started swooping around the plants with hopes of a berry or two.
I have been working on the decoy berries and will be giving you the full details of the process. I plan on ‘planting’ the decoys in the next few days.
In the meantime, my right hand helper took a look at my work in progress and remarked that they may look a bit like strawberries but also looked like eggplants. I think that my work in progress needs a little more touch-up.
I broke down and purchased six Hood strawberry plants last year. They used to be hard to find around this area, but are gaining popularity again. I used to pick Hood strawberries during the early summer when I was in Grade School and High School. By far, the Hood variety are the best tasting strawberries. They are very sweet and delicious right off the bushes, they freeze well, and the large size makes them perfect for drying with a dehydrator. Continue reading