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Archive for the ‘Strawberry Fields’ Category

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Meet Old Castle

I took a wooden pallet we had left over from when we bought paving stones for an outdoor patio and turned it into my strawberry planter.

On one side “Old Castle” is burned into the wood. The pallet had a lot of character and I didn’t want to discard it but I didn’t know what to do with it.  And then it hit me, Old Castle could turn into a new home for my strawberry plants.

First, I removed two of the boards so that I would have six square beds for the plants.  I took those boards and added them to the sides of the pallet so that the soil mixture wouldn’t fall out of the planter. I left the bottom open to the ground so that the roots of my plants will have room to grow.

I took bricks and lined the perimeter of the ground to give the planter height and to create a barrier between the earth and the wood of the planter.  Hopefully this way the planter will last longer.

First I lined it with bricks.

I live in an area with soil that consists mainly of clay which means that it doesn’t drain very well.  So, I added pea gravel mixed with sand to the clay and then added my fertilized soil mixture on top of that.  I added my three Arkansas strawberry plants to the back rows of the planter and my Stark Bros plants to the three rows up front.  The Arkansas plants were becoming root-bound in their pots and this planter is the perfect place for them. I left the one healthy Stark Bros plant in its pot because I didn’t want to disturb it.

My strawberry field

The other two plants look like they are not going to make it so I went ahead and replanted them.  I think they are dead but on the chance I’m wrong I am calling out for strawberry prayers to get them growing.

I love the idea of this planter because I am repurposing an item that was used to transport the paving stones that will be used in my garden.  There is a lot of construction going on in my neighborhood and I see these pallets lying around discarded.  Those contractors don’t realize what a gem they are throwing out.  It doesn’t take up much space and allows my plants room to stretch out and grow. I have another one that I already have plans to use for my tomato plants.

slowly growing

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In my family, a strawberry pie is a rite of passage from spring into summer. This weekend  we indulged in our strawberry tradition.  I have had several people ask for the recipe so I’m sharing it in my strawberry blog.  I’m hoping my Stark Bros strawberry plants produce enough berries for a late summer pie!

A pie for my son's math class

Ingredients

  • 2 (8 inch) pie shells, baked
  • 2 1/2 quarts fresh strawberries (sliced or whole)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 (3 ounce) package strawberry flavored gelatin

Directions

  1. In a saucepan, mix together the sugar, corn starch and water; make sure to blend corn starch completely and get all of the lumps out. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Add gelatin mix, and stir until smooth. Let mixture cool to room temperature.
  2. Place strawberries in cooled, baked pie shells. Pour cooled gel mixture over strawberries.
  3. Refrigerate until set. Serve with whipped cream.

Sometimes I mix it up and add fresh blue berries or blackberries.  ENJOY!

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The plants are in new pots and hanging out with my container garden. I’m hoping my flourishing Arkansas strawberry plants will cheer them up–maybe they were just lonely.

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Day 5

Saturday morning I watered my strawberry plants and scooted the planter back outside–the sun was actually out that morning.  We had a busy day of dance rehearsal, a birthday dinner, a dance recital, and then a long drive to Mena, AR (I was racing the mountain bike the next morning).  Needless to say, I had a lot on my mind.  We were just about to pull up at the auditorium for dance rehearsal when a question shot through my head.  “Do strawberries have hair?”

What's wrong with this picture?

I had been racking my brain trying to figure out why my plants hadn’t started growing and it occurred to me that I had planted the roots in the dark and hadn’t really had a chance to look at them until that morning. I immediately called my husband and told him that I had planted them upside-down. He was at work and said that he couldn’t check on them until later. I had to suffer through three agonizing hours before I could get home to check on them. Sure enough, after digging up the plants and looking, they were growing bottom up!  These Stark Bros Tribute Strawberries are something else…they even grow upside-down!

By the end of a day in the sun they looked even better.

The following day we had sunshine again and the plants continued to grow.

However, that was the last the plants would see of sunshine for several days.  The plants were brought outside during the day but the skies were very overcast and sometimes dark.

We had a week full of tornadoes, hail, and strong winds and I was afraid to leave the young plants outside without protection (Arkansas has experienced over 60 tornadoes since April 1).  Overnight, two of the plants started to wither and by this evening the soil started smelling bad.

Tonight I opted to replant the them into pots and set them out with my container garden. All of my other plants are growing leaps and bounds so I think the strawberries need to be outside full-time.  At the moment, I have one stunted, thriving plant and two little guys on life support.

We are supposed to have a beautiful warm, sunny weekend and I’m hoping that is exactly what the plants need.  I will finish constructing my awesome planter this weekend and if the plants are healthy enough, I’ll put them in their prize-winning new home.

After work, Day 7

If you have any suggestions about what I should do to make my plants happy again–other than turning them upside-down, please let me know.  Now I’m going to sit back, have a glass of wine, and toast to a great weekend full of great strawberry growing weather!

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No Strawberries today. I’ve got the FedEx blues. #CTSFproj #G2B11

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I just received word that my strawberry plants are on their way to Arkansas!  It’s a good thing that they are sending me three plants because I’ve already caught birds and deer checking out my garden.  I guess I’ll have to be BERRY creative on how and where I plant these little gems because I’m not sharing  my soon-to-be prize-winning strawberry plants with any Arkansas critters!

http://www.youtube.com/user/PAllenSmith

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