Community Garden In Focus: The Strawberry Patch

Yesterday's community garden post focused more on the overall garden; today's focuses on the plot that has been the most interesting so far this year: the strawberry patch!

This is the strawberry patch. It also includes some chives (which are amazing, let me tell you!). This photo is from the end of February, I believe, when I was first introduced to my plot, so there wasn't too much going on. Here's what it looked like in mid-May.

Speaking of the strawberry patch, here is a pink flower from one of the three types of strawberries that were there when I came. The garden coordinator and other returning gardeners told me that the previous tenant's strawberries were huge, delicious, awesome, and many other positive adjectives. I have to agree!

There is a white-flowering variety, too. I haven't noticed, really, a difference between these two in terms of fruit-set, size, or flavour, but it's hard to figure out which one is which once the strawberries are ripe.

My artistic strawberry shot. It was a beautiful day. I wish I had caught them like this when the strawberry was ripe--it would have made an amazing contrast. But every time I go, now, it's too cloudy to get a good photo. I'll keep trying!

And yum yum ripe strawberries! I made a jam with this guy (and many of his friends and relatives) and used that jam in my almond thumbprint cookies.

My first day at my plot, I noticed some patches of recently dug earth in the strawberry bed. It looked as if someone had dug up a few plants from my plot. Then, I noticed recently planted strawberries in the plot across the fence from me, literally a foot from my own strawberries. They had been watered that morning (if you click on the photo, you can see the little wet area around each strawberry plant in the containers). I recently met my western neighbour, Lawrence. I'm not saying he stole any plants, or that it was even stealing, necessarily--at the time the plants would have been removed, no one was assigned to this plot. It just seems a little coincidental that plants were removed and right next to them in another plot are recently planted and watered ones...

This strawberrry, however, I would have welcomed someone taking.

It's mock strawberry, as Kathy Jentz of Washington Gardener magazine told me on Twitter. I harvested a lot for the jam that I made, and they don't taste bad, really. They don't have much flavour, but they are a good filler in jam, because they provide interesting texture (they don't reduce as much as real strawberries do). But, they're crazy-invasive and annoying to harvest. Out they'll come!

Also in the strawberry patch, as mentioned, are beautiful, delicious chives. I harvest flowers, stick them in my button holes, and walk around town eating them. They're great as an onion alternative in falafel and offer a more interesting colour! I recently harvested some and tried my hand at making chive blossom vinegar, a la Really Rose.

I'm not sure what type of brassica this is. I kind of broadcast seed everywhere, and some grew. I'll just see what happens...!

Also an unknown! I think it's a cute little plant, and I noticed them growing everywhere in the strawberry patch, especially near mosses. I get the feeling that I know what this plant is, but I can't figure it out. It seems like something that should end in "-wort" or similar.

Here's a close-up of the papery... fruit? Seedpods. Whatever happens after it flowers.

I'm not sure what this is, but I get the feeling that it's a nice flowering plant. It might be a crazy weed. Any help identifying it?

This one, however, I know: lambsquarter. It's edible and tastes like lettuce, but it's a crazy weed! I'm leaving a few in the garden to harvest, however. They're pretty easy to rip out and add to a salad.

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5 Responses to Community Garden In Focus: The Strawberry Patch

  1. Plant theft sucks (whether they were "technically" yours yet or not. You're nicer than I am. I would have been tempted to go dig them up again and replant :-)

    I love the chive photo, as well as the green strawberry one. And jam thumbprint cookies rock.

    {That was possibly the most unorganized comment I've ever left.... :-)}

  2. You are too nice, I think I would have planted something horrible over there, LOL! Your "brassica" kind of looks like a baby watermelon plant! So cool how everything is coming along. I have an idea: Set up a rickety "front porch" in your plot and sit there with a shotgun and when the strawberry stealer comes back you can stamp your foot and holler "GET OFF MAH LAND!!" (I've always wanted to do that, LOL!)

  3. I'm still holding out hope that dude isn't the one who stole 'em... But I did notice that his few plants are a good smattering of pink- and white-flowering ones... He has a pretty nice layout, and the plants he grows are amazing, so I really want to believe it was just coincidence! Also, he's the dude who tilled my plot, so that was really nice.

    Erin, I have always wanted to do that too! That'll teach my neighbours not to steal my plants...!!! I was hoping the Litchi tomatoes would germinate, but they never did--they would have been wonderful deterrents, too!

  4. I planted garlic chives in my garden years ago. In 2 years, I had enough to feed the city of Alexandria, and it took me 3 years to eradicate the buggers.

    Yes, photo next to last is a weed that loves my yard. It looked like asters to me when I first encountered it. I will ID it after this Friday, combing through the Master Gardeners clinic reference books.

  5. The patch looks beautiful! I wish I had enough will power to plant a large section like that, but I'll just have to settle for my garden bed for now.



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