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Strawberries in the Garden

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I’m in garden diary mode again this week for my latest contribution to Curiously, Creatively and I thought I would give an overview of what we’ve been up to in the garden this season. We have had our share (possibly more than our fair share) of slug related horticultural disasters but we are also shaping up for some successes too. The one thing that we can’t stop growing is the weeds, but then I suppose everyone has that problem. We decided not to use weed killer so it’s a labour intensive activity to keep everything under some semblance of control.

Now, you wouldn’t have noticed me slipping out for a while, but I popped out to run the mower over the grass at the front and back of the house (just in case the fine weather breaks tomorrow). Consequently I am feeling very pleased with myself and have a pleasant glow of virtuousness. It won’t last long however because I’m already spotting the bits I have missed in my sprint over the lawn. For the moment, I will refuse to dwell on my mowing technique or the lack thereof, and concentrate on the positive. One very positive thing is that the weather this evening is still warm enough to enable typing al fresco, which feels very continental indeed.

Plate of Strawberry tarts

Tea time treat…

I have just been doing a round of watering and I have picked a few more of our mini strawberries. We have a variety called ‘Sweetheart’ and strictly speaking the plants belong to my blogging partner. The seeds came in a child’s gardening kit a few years ago and we now have eight or nine plants. I think some of them have reached the stage of needing dividing now, so I need to research the best time to do this. I’m guessing early spring might be best. A strawberry plant has established itself in our bulb and wildflower patch without so much as a by your leave, but we’ve decided to leave it there as it fits in rather well.

Over the years, the main problem we have found with this type of strawberry is that the plants with their tiny fruits look very decorative, but once picked, they don’t go very far. Last year we came up with a way of solving the problem, which is really just common sense. We freeze the berries as we pick them, which is usually a small handful most days during the summer. When we have accumulated a tub full then we can make a trifle or a pudding of some sort. Most recently, we made some small strawberry starts decorated with pastry custard. I just baked some small tart cases blind and then topped them with strawberry compote, and we piped thick custard on the top when the tarts were cool. Not exactly Cordon Bleu standard, but very tasty nevertheless.

Apart from the strawberries, this week I’ve picked four of the ‘Tumbler’ tomatoes and we should have more ripening soon. After years of only having green fruit from standard varieties, we started only to grow the cherry varieties that we have more chance of ripening in an Irish summer without a green house. There are potatoes growing in bags, the ‘Blue Danube’ variety bought from a garden centre in Blessington. It’s a new sort for us so I’m looking forward to seeing how they turn out. The flowers are lovely shade of lilac blue (picture to follow) and look very pretty next to the blue lobelia that grows over the side of the bay tree’s pot.

I haven’t got as far in my garden round up as I meant to do, so I’ll fill you in on our other growing projects next time. Meanwhile, we’d love to hear what you’re growing this year.

Any hints or tips for varieties to grow would be great too!


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