Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I've Created a Monster

Our strawberry patch. It is unbelievable this year. (Also a little scary.) And I can't figure out why.

The half of the patch that is "newest" is made up of plants that are four years old. The other half (and I've lost track here) is AT LEAST six years old, possibly more. I was truly-duly expecting this year to get a piddling-poor harvest with no one to blame but myself because I didn't put in new plants last year.

Well, all I can say is that the harvest this year is a wonderful gift from Mother Nature that we're enjoying to the utmost. (I'm just hoping I live through it.)

It took me about eight hours to pick yesterday. That was because it was 192 degrees out there (give or take a degree), and I had to continually stop and come in to resuscitate myself. Holy cow, I have (seriously) never sweat (whoops, I mean glistened) so much in my life. Hubby had to leave for about an hour and a half in late afternoon when I was finishing up, and he was actually hesitant to leave me broiling (I mean picking) out there.

Want to hear the really amazing thing? The harvest yesterday totaled (drum roll, please) 31 pounds and 14 ounces. That brings our to-date season total up to 98 pounds, 5 ounces. It took three hours last night to clean them all, and boy, am I glad that's done! I don't think I would have gotten out of bed this morning if I'd know I had that to face today.

I'm not positive but I think after I get through processing all of them today, I'll have our jam supply and frozen berries completely done. I've dehydrated berries three times now and don't think I want to do any more that way.

The patch hasn't begun to show signs of slowing down yet. We've given a lot away and will continue to do so but I'm thinking we may have to consider selling some to the restaurant we supplied veggies to two years ago. I'm sure they'd be happy to take as many as we have to offer. This might be the way to go 'cause I sure don't want to see any of the beauties go to waste.

13 comments:

Claire said...

Holy smokes! That is crazy! 98 + pounds?!? Too bad strawberry shortcake can't be FedEx'd....I think the baby in the belly is demanding some!

Mama Pea said...

Claire - I discovered a strawberry shortcake recipe last year that is to die for! We've had it once this year but I'm afraid to make it again 'cause the two of us gobble it up like vacuums! But if you were here, I'd make it special to feed that little baby in the belly!

Melissa said...

Wow, that is incredible! What varieties of berries do you have? How many plants did you start with? We planted 75 plants this spring so next year we hope to be in your boat. What do you use for weed/grass control? Your bed looks beautiful. Enjoy the harvest. Raspberries and then blueberries are right around the corner.

The Apple Pie Gal said...

That is amazing! We got rid of ours since they were such poor producers. I had 100 plants and couldn't get anything for years!! Must have just been the perfect conditions for them this year! Ought to keep your shelves stocked for a good long while!

Erin said...

That is amazing! I don't know how you are doing it, my back hurts picking 8 lbs!!

Lorie said...

I know just how you feel. We had 117 lbs. this year until I called the end of the season. Just could not process another berry. Sounds like you have lots more coming. Enjoy your monster!

Mama Pea said...

Melissa - Right now I have Earliglow and Cavendish in the patch. I've got 150 plants (although I told our daughter when she asked last night that the number was 125, but I just refigured and it's 150). Thanks for the compliment on the beds. I use wood shavings inbetween the rows and sawdust around each individual plant. I have to hand pull weeds about 3-4 times during the season to keep the weeds down. Huge, healthy dandelion plants are the worst!

Apple Pie Gal - Gosh, you should be able to grow strawberries in your region. Maybe try a different location in the garden? We use compost as fertilizer which really helps.

Erin - I'm just too stubborn to give in to weakness!

Lorie - I love it that you "called the end of the season." Smart woman! I went out into the garden tonight for a look-see and there are berries to pick tomorrow. I may run away from home.

ThyHandHathProvided said...

That is wonderful! Our five year old plants petered out this year and gave us a piddly harvest. I'm so glad yours is going strong. Maybe your plants like you more than my plants like me. Hm.

Jenyfer Matthews said...

Maybe you should think about charging people to come pick for you like the big strawberry farms do - I'd certainly pay for the privilege, I love strawberries!

Jenyfer Matthews said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rainsong said...

We had a good strawberry year but not at all like you. I have been dropping over the bluff out back to pick wild blackberries, they have been thicker than I've ever seen. The sun finally came to the PNW and the berries are coming faster than ever. I have made ice-cream, lavender-lemon berry bars, jam, and have berries for pie. There are so many more getting ripe, there might be black berries for thanksgiving and Christmas, but for now I am a woman of purple fingers with sympathy for your neck, back and shoulders!

Mama Pea said...

ThyHand - I think what they really liked was the compost we put on them!

Jen - If you'd hurry up and get your wee buttinski up here you could come pick your fill free of charge!

Rainsong - Mmmm, blackberries! I love 'em. My fingers are curiously stained black from the strawberries. How come?

Jenyfer Matthews said...

I fear that by the time I get up there, the strawberries will be done - though I'm sure my son would be very happy to check each plant, just to be sure. Maybe we can help you out with raspberries? ;)