Is there such a thing a as strawberry joy? Well if there is we are experiencing it this year. After years of disappointment due to wildlife attacks despite trying all sorts of cunning ways of beating them- nets, cages, hanging planters …
This year we are enjoying a bumper crop and have a clear conscience as we have not harmed a single mouse, bird, snail, slug or squirrel. The solution is growing the plants in large pots, filled with beech leaf mould, and placing them high on old trestle tables in the polytunnel.
We have enjoyed and shared the strawberries and following this year’s success plans are afoot to increase the number of pots and to try and have a big enough crop to make jam next year.
And our second moment of pride is that the swallows have checked out the new open sided barn and have built a nest – the first we have ever had. So let’s hope next year we will have a gulp of swallows as well as a glut of strawberries.
How many gardeners spend their time waging war on ‘pests’ ?- slugs, snails, birds, mice, squirrels, grazing children…
We have tried growing strawberries with little success for a number of years no matter what we do someone gets to the strawberries just as they ripen, We’ve tried nets to protect the fruit from birds and squirrels only to feed our numerous shrew and mouse population. We’ve tied them up to make it harder for the mice to climb up for a feast. Last year I tried hanging strawberry bags and got the watering wrong – failure.
This spring all the strawberry plants which had overwintered in a corner of the vegetable garden were dug up. about half were put in large black plastic pots in a lovely rich leaf mould compost. The other half were planted in the a new bed in the ‘big polytunnel’. Needless to say there is a bit of a his and hers competition in the strawberry department. His were looking very healthy in the polytunnel obviously growing in a large bed. but I persevered watering, feeding and generally loving ‘my’ strawberries in the glorious greenhouse.
Almost too good to eat!
So imagine my delight to be able to serve up ‘my’ mouse free ripe strawberries as part of his special birthday pudding this week. His strawberries are ripening and feeding the lovely little shrew that seems to have set up residence in the tunnel!
And the verdict – sweet, juicy and just delicious!