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How to grow the best strawberries in your garden

 

If you're looking to grow the most luscious of all the berries that can be grown in your backyard garden, look no further than the strawberry. When ripe and freshly picked from your garden, there is no better tasting berry for its sweet flavor than this easy to grow plant--the strawberry. Like any other fruit or berry, the picking season is short, so be sure to save room in your freezer for those cold days of winter when you crave a sweet treat.

Strawberries will grow best in full sun in an area that is sheltered from harsh winds. The plants will still grow if they are in partial shade for a few hours but the production of fruit will be less. Avoid planting in low spots in your yard, like the bottom of a hill, to prevent frost pocket problems early in the season. One other tip--do not plant in the same area where you recently grew potatoes or tomatoes in the last 3 years; it will work against you.

Strawberries are not picky about the soil they grow in, as long as it is well drained. Wet soil during the spring can and will rot the roots of the plants. Wet spots that freeze during the winter, forming ice, will kill the plants over the winter. Soil preparation is the key to great strawberries. If you prepare the planting bed ahead of time, you will save a lot of problems later. Add plenty of organic matter like peat moss, composted or dehydrated animal manure, or rich compost to the garden and blend it 6 to10 inches deep. If your soil is heavy with clay, add coarse sharp sand, like what is used to build the base of a brick walkway.

I also suggest using a product like garden gypsum to help break up clay soils and apply garden lime to the soil as needed to keep the soil almost neutral--a pH of 6 to 6.5 is best. Remember the plants will be there for 3 to 4 years, so do it right the first time. Another tip for you is to plant strawberries in a raised bed. All you have to do is dig out the soil from the walkways 2 to 3 inches deep and add to the planting bed. If you get a lot of rain in the spring, the extra water will have someplace to go and not hurt the roots of the plant.

Strawberries can be planted two ways in the garden: as staggered rows that are allowed to fill in the entire planting bed or as evenly spaced plants to be grown as individual plants. Staggered rows that fill in the planting bed will give you more fruit, but in time the berries will get smaller because of competition with other plants. Plants grown on individual mounds will have much larger fruit but fewer berries. Each average strawberry plant should produce one half to one pound of berries per plant for the three years they are in your garden.

Spacing is 15 to 18 inches in between plants, 3 to 4 plants wide per planting bed; this will make it easier to harvest berries later. When you plant your strawberries, be sure to set plants in the ground at the same depth in the garden that they originally grew in the pot. Look for a green ring around the short stem of the plant and just barely cover it with soil. Spread the roots out in the garden soil to help them develop more easily, and make sure the leaves are not covered with soil.

I also like to spread straw on the ground around the plants to help choke out weeds, prevent slugs and snail problems and--best of all--keep the berries off the ground and clear of the soil. Place the straw around the plants and be sure to lift all foliage and berries off the soil; this will give you better air circulation and help prevent berry rot. Use barley or wheat straw--NEVER hay--and weeds will never be a problem.

New plants should be watered regularly until established, and during hot and dry growing periods. When the berries are ripening, keep water off them to prevent gray mold and other disease--water the soil, not the fruit. The best time to water is in the morning, so excess moisture can evaporate quickly off the berries with the morning sunshine. NEVER water strawberries late in the day or at night or you will have moldy berries.

Fertilize in the early spring as the foliage begins to develop and the flowers form. Use organic fertilizers,, as they feed slowly and last longer in the soil. Mycorrhizae added to the planting beds will produce stronger and more productive plants. If your soils are sandy be sure to add a pinch of Soil Moist Granules to the planting hole when you set the plants in the garden.

Your biggest problem will be BIRDS because they, like you, love strawberries. Just cover the berry plants with plastic netting at the first sign of the berries ripening and make sure the netting is raised above the plants so the birds cannot poke through the holes in the netting. Pick early in the day and pick often to keep them from eating your berries.

One last thing: strawberries come as June-bearing plants or ever-bearing plants. June-bearing plants produce all at once, usually in 3 to 4 weeks, while ever-bearing plants produce for a much longer period of 6 to 8 weeks. Both produce about the same amount of berries overall; it depends on how fast you want them for your table. Enjoy! 

 

Varieties June Bering Strawberries

 

Early strawberries and best varieties to choose.
Earlyglow and Surecrop

 

Midseason strawberries and best varieties to choose
Allstar and Honeoye

 

Late-season strawberries and bet varieties to choose
Sparkle and Late glow
-------------------------------------------------------

 

Varieties Ever Bearing strawberries
Ozark Beauty, Sure Crop and Early Glow

 

 

 

 

 

Blueberries are easy to grow berry in your garden
 The blueberry is the most popular berry in the garden today and the easiest berry to grow. Blueberries are also one of very few edible and delicious blue foods we eat. Think about that for a minute and tell me what else you eat that is blue from the garden, or in the wild? You can eat them fresh from the plant. You can cook them in muffins, pies and cobbler. Fresh or frozen, the blueberry is number one on the kitchen table.

The blueberry is a native plant to America--not imported into the country. From Maine to Canada, the blueberry plant in the form of the lowbush type is responsible for many jobs and widely preferred in cooking over the highbush types. This wild plant is cultivated and managed in the wild and is a wonderful example of sustainable agriculture--like the balsam fir tree is for Christmas. When you travel during July in Maine from Kennebunk to Calais and into Atlantic Canada, stop on the side of the road and pick a few. Wild blueberries are the king of berries and no one cares for them but mother nature.

The highbush blueberry is a hybrid of this plant, with larger fruit and more fruit to the plant, and grows in the same area. The flavor is good but not like the lowbush wild type. Because of space restrictions, the highbush blueberry is grown more often, and is more practical, in the home garden.

Blueberries are remarkable plants as they are virtually free of disease problems and insect problems. This means no SPRAYING is needed the entire year. The only problem this plant has is the birds and they, like us, love these berries. Netting will easily take care of the problem.

The secret to growing blueberries is in the soil. Most important is that it must be acidic all the time, so never add lime or lime products near the plant. The more acidic the soil, the better they grow. The soil must also be well drained, and never have standing water around the plant. The more organic matter in the soil, the more fruit the plant will produce and the larger the fruit will grow. So be sure, when planting, that you use compost and a lot of it. Mulching around the plant should be done like we do to our shrubs and trees around the house. This will help the plant hold fruit during hot and dry summers. Two to three inches of organic matter around the blueberry plant is recommended at all times. You can use compost, pine needles, bark mulch, wood chips, even sawdust.

Fertilizer is important; I recommend that you use the same food you give your rhododendrons and azaleas. Organic fertilizer like Holly Tone, or Dr. Earth Organic #4 Acid-loving Plant Food should be used in the spring and in the fall. To help acidify the soil, use yearly applications of Aluminum Sulfate Soil Acidifier. A little tip for you, when feeding your plants always use mycorrhizae fungi to help the fruit taste sweeter. Mycorrhizae fungi help with the uptake of phosphorus to the plant for better root growth. Mycorrhizae will help with the breakdown of organic matter to generate nitrogen for the plant and to make "sugar" for the plant. Together the fungi and the plant make great tasting berries. Look for Plant Growth Activator or Bio-Tone.

Plants grow best in full sun to a little bit of shade. Water regularly when in fruit to keep berries full of juice. Pruning is done to the plant to remove dead or damaged branches. Prune when the fruit is picked from the plant and then up to one third of the old branches to promote new growth for next year. Enjoy!

 
Blue Jay:  Cold hardy and produces a large tasty crop in July
BlueRay: Cold hardy and produces extra large fruit in July
Blue Crop: Cold hardy and produces a big crop when planted with Early Blue in July
Early Blue: Cold hardy and produces a big crop of sweet berries when planted with Blue Crop in June
Patriot: Cold hardy with large fruit and heavy producer in June

 

Rhubarb one of first treasures of our garden
                                                

If you are looking for the hardiest perennial vegetable for your garden, look no further than the rhubarb! Rhubarb is a plant native to Siberia, Russia. It was first grown for medicinal purpose but quickly became used for food. Because there were no early fruits available in April, the rhubarb plant filled the need for a fruit substitute.

The stems of the rhubarb are tart and can be eaten raw when lots of white sugar is used. When cooked, it is delicious added to sweetened sauces and desserts, and is wonderful mixed with strawberries in a pie. It was very popular 50 years ago, but today many berries and fruit are shipped into this country from all over the world, and rhubarb has lost its appeal. Today it is an acquired taste--and those gardeners who dare to taste it love it.

I like the looks of the giant leaves in the garden as much as the taste of the red stems. Remember one thing: the leaves of the rhubarb are poisonous so remove them and add them to your compost pile. If you notice that large stems with white flowers develop from the center of the plant, remove them as they will steal the energy from the plant to make seed.

Rhubarb should be planted in your garden during April or May. Start with a big hole filled with compost or well rotted animal manure. Rhubarb is a heavy feeder and needs to be fertilized during the summer, when the harvest is over. Summer fertilizer helps the plant to rebuild itself for next year. Select a location in your garden with full sun all day. Loosen the soil and add organic matter like compost if your soil is clay base. Rhubarb will grow better if the soil is neutral to acid. If you have a compost pile, spread fresh compost around the plant every spring to get it off to a good start.

Rhubarb will be in your garden for a long time and it needs space to grow, so be sure you allow at least a 3' square space for it to grow. The large arching stems with large fan-like leaves will fill in that space in no time at all. Also, do not pick the rhubarb for the first year. The plant will need all the energy it makes to become established in its new home--your garden. When the plant is ready to be harvested, just twist the stems at the base and pull up. Never pick more than half of the leaves from the plant during the season. You must leave some stems so the plant is able to make food to replace the stems you harvested.

Rhubarb is good for you and contains vitamins C and K. It is also a good source for magnesium, calcium, potassium and manganese. If you need fiber, this plant has that too.

Rhubarb is relatively problem-free--an occasional hole in the leaf now and then is not a problem. Keep the plant healthy by feeding in spring and during the summer. Water rhubarb often during the hot days of summer! If your soil is on the sandy side, water your rhubarb more often. Now you are ready for years of enjoyment.

When your Rhubarb begins to form a flower be sure to remove it, as it will take the energy away from the plant to make more foliage and tasty stems.  Fertilize the plant in April as you notice the shoots developing from the ground and again in August to build a stronger plant for next spring with Vegetable Garden Tone from Espoma or Dr Earth Vegetable garden fertilizer with Pro Biotic's.  Your plant should be divided every 5 years in the spring.  You will notice a ring of growth with 1 to 2 inch red buds that resemble mushroom caps growing on this ring.  Cut out each bud with lots of roots and replant in a soil with manure, compost and organic matter.  Space the new plants 3 to 4 feet apart and dispose of the remains of the ring that the buds formed on.  Do not pick leaves that year to allow the plant to become established  but next year and on, pick up to half of the leaves to eat the stems. Enjoy!

Good varieties of Rhubarb:

 

Canada Red

Victoria 

Valentine

Sutton


 

Bette Midler The Rose BEST DUET  With Ms. Judd
Bette Midler The Rose BEST DUET With Ms. Judd

                                      

 

"Oh, this is the joy of the rose - that it blooms and goes

 Willa Cather

 

 

Chocolate Bourbon Cake

 

Chocolate Bourbon Cake

If you're looking for something sweet and elegant, this is for you and

your guest.  They will talk about this for many visits to your home and

will want the recipe.  It's fabulous, so enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

 

Parchment Paper

cup of Jack Daniels Bourbon or a bit more

1 1/3 cup of white sugar

12 ounces of bitter sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1 cup of butter cut up in pieces

5 jumbo or extra-large eggs

1 tablespoons of all-purpose flower

2 tablespoons of cocoa powder, divided

Hot water

Coffee Bourbon Syrup

Hazelnuts

 

Preparation:

1] Pre heat the oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a 9 by 2 inch cake pan,

 Line the bottom with Parchment paper, and set aside.

2] Combine the bourbon and sugar in a large sauce pan; bring mixture

to a boil.  Remove from the heat and add chocolate and butter, stirring

until smooth.  Set aside and let cool to room temperature

3] Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until very well blended.  Fold in the flour

and 1 half tablespoons of cocoa powder.  Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.

Set the cake pan in a large roasting pan filled to a depth of 1 inch of warm water.

4] Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes, basting with the Coffee-Bourbon Syrup

every 15 minutes after a crust has formed on the cake surface.

5] Cool the cake; cover and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.  Transfer the cake onto

Serving plate and dust with the remaining 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder.

 Top with hazelnuts.

 

Coffee-Bourbon Syrup

cup sugar

cup water

cup strong brewed coffee

2 tablespoons of Bourbon

Bring sugar, water, and coffee to a boil in a medium sauce pan over medium-high

Heat.  Cook for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the Bourbon

 

 

 

 

               ONLY 1 Cabins Left - don't miss out on this wonderful trip

 

 

 

Monday July 27 - Boston, MA -
Depart on your overnight trans-Atlantic flight to Prague, Czech Republic.

Tuesday, July 28- Prague, Czech Republic
Settle into you hotel, Hilton Praguea,for the next two evenings. Explore Prague at your leisure.

Wednesday-July 29 -
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel, and a free day to explore the city at your own pace. Perhaps visit the Communist Musem: sample the local plum dumplings and Pilsner; stroll along the Vltava River(B)

Thursday- July 30
After breakfast at the hotel, you will have time to discover Prague's treasures. You will depart your hotel in the early afternoon to embark on the Avalon Visionary in Nuremberg (approx.. 3 hour drive) Welcome Reception and Dinner onboard (B, D)

Friday - July 31 - Nuremberg
Today, choose from an included guided sightseeing tour and marvel at this 1,000-year-old city's medieval fortifications. Extraordinary gothic churches, and Kaiserburg(Imperial Castle) or join a more specialized Nuremberg Rally Grounds Tour. Enjoy a tranquil afternoon of cruising. Take in an interesting onboard lecture about the engineering marvel that is the Main Danube Canal (B,L,D)

Saturday, August 1- Regensburg
Some of today's highlights during your guided wall will include Altes Rathaus (old Time Hall), Porta Pretoria and 12th-century Steinerne Brucke (Stone Bridge). Enjoy an included snack at historische Wurskuche, one of the oldest restaurants. Before Dinner, join us for a beer tasting of some of Germany's most famous beers.(B,L,D)

Sunday, August 2 - Passau-Linz, Austria
This morning, dock in Passau uniquely located where the INN, Ilz and the Danube Rivers converge. Passau is a maze of cobblestone streets lined with beautiful patrician houses. St Stephen's Cathedral, a masterpiece of Italian Baroque architecture, house one of the world's largest church organs with 17, 774 pipes. Take in the highlights on the included guided walk. Then sail to Linz, Austria's 3rd largest town, which lies on both banks of the Danube (B, L, D)

Monday, August 3 - Melk-Vienna
This morning enjoy a included guided visit of Melk's magnificent 11th century Benedictine Abbey, which houses an ornate library with over 80,000 printed books and 2,000 manuscripts. During lunchtime, cruise through Wachau Valley a UNESCO world Heritage site. Arrive in Vienna this evening.(B, L, D)/p>

Tuesday, August 4 - Vienna

Your included city tour with your local guide includes sites such as the lavish Hofburg Imperial Palace Complex, the Neo-Renaissance Vienna Opera House, and St Stephen's Cathedral. Spend some time in the delightful pedestrian Karntnerstrasse to enjoy a piece of decadent Sachertorte or Apfelstrudel Depart for Budapest. (B, L, D)

Wednesday, August 5 - Budapest, Hungary
On your guided sightseeing tour, see Heroes' Square as well as the massive hilltop castle complex with its remarkable Fishermen's Bastion & 11th century Matthias Church, the coronation spot of several Hungarian menarches. Be sure to take note of the city's 8 bridges - many famous sites in and of themselves which connect ancient Buda on the right bank with pest on left bank. You may even want to walk across Chain Bridgebuilt in 1849 and a symbol of Budapest. (B, L, D)

Thursday August 6 - Budapest (disembarkation)
After breakfast you will be transferred to your hotel. The day is free to explore Budapest at your leisure (b).

Friday, August 7 - Budapest to Boston
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before you prepare for your transfer to the airport and you flight home.

For more information :
Largay Travel Inc.
625 Wolcott Street
Waterbury, CT 06705
1-800-322-9481

Bobbi@LargayTravel.com

 

 

 

Valentines Day is 9 days away - Don't forget!

 

              Garden Journal - A garden is a friend you can visit any time. Gardens require planning and cultivation, yielding beauty and joy. This garden journal helps make planning and organizing easy. This book makes a great gift for gardeners, family, friends, birthdays, Christmas, new home or as a self purchase.

Cover holds a 5 x7 or 4x6 photo, Heavy-duty D-ring binder

1. 8 tabbed sections
2. 5 garden details sections with pockets for seeds, tags....
3. Weather records page
4. 6 three year journal pages
5. Insect & diseases page - 3 project pages
6. 3 annual checklist pages
7. Plant wish list page
8. 2 large pocket pages
9. Sheet of garden labels
10. 5 garden detail sheets
11. 5 graph paper pages for layouts
12. 5 photo pages holds - 4- 4x6 photos in landscape or portrait format

Journal, Planning, Inspirations. 

 To Order call 207-590-4887

Regular price $34.95  Special Price $31.95!  special!

 

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