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It's Strawberry Season!

Posted in Ridge Berry farm Blog

It's Strawberry Season!

But first, a few explanations. Our blog has been down for a while. The reason is that we have now launched a new web site (check it out!) and the blog has been fully integrated. Note: If you like the "look and feel" of this site, we recommend CMS Intelligence of St. Catharines, they've been a great help in putting it all together. The photographer they recommended also did some superb work at very reasonable cost.

Now for the Strawberries. These are really one of the first berry crops of the season and of course we have our own. So far we barely have enough to do the things we need for the Tea Room. We know there is a lot of interest in Pick-Your-Own and for this we recommend DeVries which are just down the road.

Our Strawberries were one of the first we planted on the farm. We initially bought 4 plants at a local nursery just for the fun of it. As the lead image of this blog will attest, over the past 3 years, these have multiplied significantly. Strawberries are one of these easy to care for plants that just keep on giving. If you have children and a small space (or even pots), growing strawberries is a great way to educate children about food and where it comes from.

Last year, we planted more Strawberries and instead of fixing them to a raised bed, we tried more conventional rows....and this year, novices that we are, we've learned a few lessons.

The most important lesson is that procrastinating on farm chores can lead to major headaches. We used straw on our rows as mulch. Last Fall we were slow to deploy the straw and did not fully cover the rows; by the time we were ready to complete the task, snow was already on the ground. The result (particularly since we use no herbicide) is a weeding nightmare; the major culprit is grass. After spending the better part of a day weeding a single row, it was clear that our Strawberries would probably be the most expensive in the world. To do this right, we also felt that a large amount of straw would be required every year.

Beautiful Strawberry flowers surrounded by ...grass!

We decided to start fresh and look to container growing for these berries. We have a few ideas in mind and hope to report on this next Spring. In the meantime, it was back to "square one". We found it easier to pull the plants from the ground and temporarily place them in large trays (originally used for our hydroponic experiments).

A temporary solution for Strawberry container gorwing

We'll close the blog this week by warning everyone of the tick infestation in the region. Although most are dog ticks and inoffensive, they are a nuisance. The mild Winter and wet Spring have created a perfect environment for these tiny pests. On our farm, after venturing where the tall grass grows, some of us have been known to track dozens of these creatures into the house. We actually lost count after 40 were picked from one pair of jeans!

Pesky dog ticks are infesting the region

If you intend to go into the local fields be sure to wear pants and long sleeve shirts as a precaution... and an appropriate insect repellant is strongly recommended.

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