Everything is producing and the days are full of picking lots of different fruits and veggies. We now have sweet corn, okra, tomatoes, cantaloupes andwatermelons coming out of the field daily! I do enjoy eating some watermelonand cantaloupe, but my favorite, as avid readers might remember, is okra.
This is the first year that we have tried growing freshherbs and, so far, I would say it’s been a success! The basil is growing moreand more each day. It’s my favorite part of the field to walk through becauseit smells so heavenly. Added bonus of growing basil: bugs tend to stay awayfrom the area. Next year I might have to grow basil around the entire field andwon’t have to worry about pests at all! I can dream… If you would rather havebasil all season, we do have small basil plants available at the store. Putthem in a sunny window or out on your porch and they will provide you willsmells and flavor all season long!
We have had a substantial amount of rain in the past coupleweeks, as I’m sure you all know. Rain is an interesting thing for strawberryplants. Yes, they need water like every other plant, but too much water canmake the berries rot or hurt their shelf life once picked. Plus, rain brings inlots of moisture and temperature differences which could breed disease.
Luckily, we are coming up on the end of the season, sodisease is not a threat. By the time the disease has had time to progress, thestrawberries will be done producing. There are still plenty out in the fieldand the weather looks like it’s starting to turn back to sunny and warm. If youhaven’t gotten yours yet, now is the time! We should have them for another fewweeks but then it will be time to move on to the other garden goodies.
The strawberry plants are still dormant, but that doesn’tmean that they aren’t still keeping us busy. About this time of the year wehave to do what we call “cleaning the strawberries.” Over the winter, weedslike to start growing under the warm plastic that we lay down for thestrawberries and they start to poke up out of the holes. The strawberries aredormant from the cold weather so right now they are still rather small. Theweeds have no problem growing up and over the poor little strawberry plants.It’s our job to make sure that the strawberries can still have all the sunlightand space that they want. We have to go through the field and cut the weeds offof each individual strawberry plant! It’s a job that takes up a few weeks but luckilyduring the winter, we don’t have too many other crops to attend to.
Last week we learned about cold weather. This week we get tolearn about how snow affects crops! Surprisingly, snow is a good thing (forstrawberries at least) when the temperatures drop. Strawberries can be damagedwhen temperatures drop below 20 degrees. Snow is 32 degrees which, for dormantstrawberry plants, is nothing to be worried about. They will be just fine atthat temperature. When there is a blanket of snow overtop of them stuck at the32 degree mark, the 14 degree overnight temperatures is nothing to worry about.