Sunday, March 19, 2006

From Cow Stuff and Guinea Pig Poo... Ambrosia!

"Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God never did." William Butler (1535-1618)

Maybe God never did, but the strawberry breeders just might have.

Don't those just look marvelous? Those are Seascape, a new everbearing strawberry variety I'm trying this year. Last year my faithful Tristar bushes petered out, and the newcomers didn't live up to their promises. One, in fact, produced mealy berries that tasted little better than wax. Fine to look at, but who wants to just look at a strawberry?

When it comes to strawberries, frankly I'm completely spoiled by home-grown lusciousness. My Tristars produced several years worth of berries so rich and sweet that the store-bought ones were flavorless ghosts by comparison. I don't bother to buy berries from the grocery store, even early in the season when they look so tempting in their sparkling red perfection, nestled in their hygenic plastic boxes. The taste always disappoints. Never the richness, never the deep red juiciness of the real thing, the homegrown berry, plucked from its mother plant and eaten while still warm from the sun.

Thus I can't do without my strawberry bed. A couple of weeks ago I dug up the bed, removing the old plants and the tenacious weeds. On Friday I stopped at Nichols to see if their strawberries were in yet. They were. They'd just come in, and hadn't even been set out for customers, but the nice ladies fished some out for me. I bought a bundle of Seascape berries, as I wanted to try a new variety, and these I was promised would bear as well as Tristar and taste even better. Today I dug in some steer manure and layered more over top like a mulch, and shored up the edge of the bed with a long board that the neighbors discarded (why they think our yard is a great place to toss occasional bits of unwanted stuff is beyond me, but at least this discard was useful). Then I planted my berry plants, watered them in, and covered the bed with used litter from the guinea pig cage.

Now to wait for June or so for the beginning of ambrosia season.

1 comment:

Stuart said...

Couldn't agree with you more about the taste of home-grown strawberries. The only problem is my 2 year old beats me there - consistently.