Summer, I mean. Only 2 weeks to the official end of summer and 5 weeks to the autumn equinox, which is when I prefer to mark the end of summer. I hope we’ve seen the last of the heat. This coming week will be the first in a while without a forecast temperature over 30º C. It’s quite novel to be putting on a windcheater in the evenings.
While a lot of plants have been stressed, burned and even died because of the heat, the strawberries have thrived up on the deck outside the living room—two in a wicking box and one in a large tub—so I can pick them easily. A small handful each day gives me a tasty addition to my bowl of breakfast fruit.
I want more plants and more strawberries. Enough to make some strawberry jam. How good would that be!
The plants are starting to produce runners. I’m pegging them down into small pots so the roots will grow. Once they’re established I’ll cut them away from the parents and have a whole new collection of plants:
I’ve bought some cheap, ordinary plastic buckets to plant them in. I’ll make them into wicking buckets by drilling a drainage hole about a third the way up from the bottom and I’ll fill them with chook poo compost. The soil below the drainage hole will always stay saturated and water will wick up into the top section.
I’ll keep them on the deck where I can easily protect them from the birds. The only vacant spots on the deck now are under the eaves, but the handles on the buckets will make it easy to move them out into the rain if I want to.
I’m thinking it would be a good gift to give someone, too. Who wouldn’t be happy to receive a bucket of strawberries just ready to be picked?
Look at this!:
The grapes are ripening! This is a native American variety called the Concord. Here’s what they looked like a few months ago:
At the time I thought they were tiny flower buds, but they were already baby grapes. I never saw the flowers. Not every one has developed into a mature grape, but what the heck! I’m so chuffed to actually have grown some grapes. Growing grapes from seed is so easy and cuttings strike readily.
I don’t bother sowing, potting up and planting out lettuces. It’s far easier and less time-consuming to sow the seed direct into a wicking box and thin (and eat) the seedlings:
Same goes for mizuna and purple tatsoi:
I don’t even bother to thin these. I just grab a handful and chop above the growth point with the scissors and they keep regrowing. I use these like lettuce and in stir fries, or lightly steamed.