Thursday, 2 May 2013

May You Be: Fruitful

Hi everyone!

May brings so many lovely things among which are strawberries! And being a Wexford girl I know a good strawberry when I see + taste it.
Underipe and Overcrowded Strawberries original mixed media painting by Polly Jones

There is nothing tastier than a big, juicy organic summer strawberry. In a crumble or a cobbler smothered in warm custard, chopped up to decorate a tangy cheesecake or simply scoffed straight from the punnet! I have to say, those sour, crunchy, pale looking excuse for strawberries that can be found in the big supermarkets all the year round haven't a patch on them.
Unfortunately the real deal can be harder (and more expensive) to find + the easier option may be to pick up those GMO strawberries.  Don't get me wrong they will probably satisfy the strawberry craving alright but given the option I would go for the organic ones every time, hands down.

Driving on the outskirts of Wexford town and dotted along it's country roads at this time of year you will start to see strawberry sellers popping up with their little trailers, usually with a comical looking strawberry character sporting a big smile painted on the side of it.  In this case, for people from or visiting Wexford and the surrounding areas, it is pretty easy to pick up a punnet or two of these shiny red delights (and will probably go away with a sack of spuds thrown in for good measure) but for those like myself who perhaps live in a city, finding that perfect strawberry is not so easy.

So what can we do about it? Simple solution = grow our own! 
It is easier than it sounds and I believe it is one of our duties to be fruitful in life. Be Fruitful + Multiple!

The good news is you don't even need to have much of a garden and if you are like me having NO garden at all still isn't an excuse.  You can grow strawberries in window boxes and hanging baskets!

I have done a little research on how to go about growing your own strawberries for all us garden-less green finger enthusiasts and here is what I have found:

  • Use the deepest garden box that you can find.  This prevents the compost from drying out.  Put about a 1 inch layer of gravel or pebbles in the bottom to help with drainage.
  • Fill the box with compost until you reach about 2 inches from the top.  Compact the compost as tightly as possible and make sure its is fairly damp.
  • Put the strawberry plant into the box + spread out the roots or if you are growing from seed spread them out evenly.
  • Add compost to about an inch from the top and press in firmly around the plants.
  • Water generously.
  • If you are growing from seed make sure to keep the box in a warm place until the seeds have germinated. Once they sprout the box can be introduced to the outdoors.
  •  Keep the plant box in the sunlight as often as possible as it will benefit greatly from the sun. No north-facing walls allowed!!
Other things that can be grown well in window boxes are:
  • Lettuce
  • Some peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Radish
  • Small carrots
  • Almost all herbs
So do you think you will give it a go?  Do you keep some variation of a window sill garden already?  Have you got any tips on keeping a small veg patch?  If so, or if you have anything else you would like to share, please leave a comment.  Also if you are interested in showing off your window boxes email me a photo or two and I will show them off on here for all to see :)

Happy digging!


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