Thursday, May 17, 2012

Advice for the Excited

One of the HUGE benefits to growing your own food is that you get to pluck it from the vine, tree or bush at it's's perfect ripeness.  This means taking a garden tour every day (or close to it) to ensure you're timing is right, but it also requires something else that can be much more difficult.


Be patient, people!  Patience is of the utmost importance particularly with strawberries and tomatoes.  While it's tempting to pick the *almost* ripe fruits as well and let them ripen up on the counter or sill, why not let them finish out their ripening on the vine?  It's a luxury you might not have if you're picking your strawberries at a pick-your-own place, but if you have them at home, take your time.  Pick slightly more often so that the berries (and later, tomatoes) you eat are beautifully ripe.

One exception is, of course, if something is obviously after what you're picking.  I'll bring in something that is almost ripe if it's obvious something is getting into it (ants, slugs, etc).  This way I'll save a portion of the fruit instead of leaving it out in the garden to attract more pests.

So.  The word of the day...PATIENCE.  It can be difficult to muster when you've been waiting all year and are chomping at the bit, but it's worth it:-).

{Now, while it's hard to imagine after that little pep talk, there are things you should pick sooner rather than later- lettuce, spinach, chard, kale...these are more tender and less likely to be bothered by pests when their young.  So, keep that in the back of your mind, too.}

And what, pray tell, should you do with those luscious, perfectly ripe strawberries (after eating your fill of them straight from the garden)?  Let me offer a few suggestions...

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  1. Oh so jealous. Our strawberry bed totally died this year - it was mulched with too many leaves. I planted 50 more, but most of them were eaten by slugs. Then I tried to order 100 more plants - but they were sold out. I guess I'll be visiting the "pick your own" farms this spring. Yummy! They look delicious.

  2. What a beautiful harvest...we bought two strawberry plants. Chris was wanting to try growing them. I've not had much luck with them, but as it turns out, Chris has quite the green thumb!

  3. Good morning from Mid Michigan! We also plant alot of vegetables, started raspberries last year and boy do they spread! Love it. We plant vegetables as do my 3 sisters and one of my brothers. As picking season begins, we share each others crops and have a wonderful variety from their gardens and two of them have orchards so also enjoy apples, pears, peaches and cherries that are canned or frozen. Love your blog by the way!

  4. Two of my favorite things....fresh strawberries and asparagus....first two things I'm gonna plant when we get some land (we're renters right now). I have a question on potatoes. I hear the plants themselves are extremely poisonous. Is it okay to compost these? And do they bother your chickens and wild rabbits? I love potatoes and since the price has skyrocketed at the grocery I want to plant them, but I'm horrified at the thought of possibly poisoning bunnies, etc. Your advice is MUCH appreciated! Janet

    1. The plants, particularly early sprouts and any green spots on the potatoes themselves are toxic and should not be eaten. That said, we don't do anything special to shield our wildlife or our chickens or cat from them. The only thing that eats them are potato bugs and, unfortunately, they aren't affected. It is our experience that animals know a lot more than we do about what they need to stay away from:-).


Just a friendly reminder, if you know me personally please try to refrain from using my name. There are those who may try to locate me, break into my pantry and steal my pickled beets. Thanks:-).

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