The long awaited STRAWBERRY Harvest is finally here!
Strawberries that come directly from the garden behind the house to my plate. Strawberries that are not cooped up and subjected to thousands of miles taken in a commercial refrigerated cargo truck, driven from some unknown farm to one of those ubiquitous supermarket stores, and displayed forlornly on a shelf. No pesticide added. BIO. Plenty of tender loving care. Priceless.
I have been quite worried for the past few months despite the growth spurt since early spring. When we first took over the house the second part of last year, the strawberry plot was full of weeds and many of the plants were infected by fungal. There were hardly any strawberries and those that we saw were puny and died before they could further develop. I tidied up the plot and hoped that a miracle would happen in the new year.
Early spring when the temperature creeped up, I got back to getting my hands soiled. My gardening routine included special tender care on the strawberry plot: adding mulch and fertiliser, weeding, spraying them with Savon Noir (liquid olive oil soft soap) watering, and immediately removing any leaves that spotted the symptoms of fungal infection. The plants gave us hope in mid-spring when healthy-looking leaves and flowers made their appearance. To increase our chances of getting a fruitful harvest, we bought 6 little pots of seedlings and added to our trove of strawberries.
It’s not the sweetest crop of strawberries that I have eaten in my life. I picked and tasted a couple ripe-looking ones—fat, red, juicy—the week before, but they were hardly sweet at all. Hence, I decided to give it a week more before harvesting, hoping that some extra time would help the fruit to ripen. At the same time, I was worried that some other garden creatures would take advantage of this extra time to steal my strawberries. In the past week, I made daily rounds to ensure that my crop was intact! As hoped, the extra week has indeed increased the sweetness.
However, the strawberries are definitely very fragrant. One can catch the strawberry scent inches before the fruit reaches your mouth. One can never capture this fresh scent from store-bought strawberries. The joy of gardening.