Friday, June 24, 2011

A small dog of strawberries

Posted By on Fri, Jun 24, 2011 at 11:13 AM

I'm not sure how the rest of you urban gardeners and backyard farmers are faring thus far this growing season, but despite the dry conditions, my yard has been kicking ass.

Well, at least for us. It's our best year yet, as we've applied what we've learned from all the mistakes we've made over the past four years: we're now watering enough and fertilizing regularly after having re-amended our soil and cleared some unhealthy elms to create more sunlight for our raised beds.

We're already eating heartily out of the garden daily, grazing beet greens, kale, spinach, Swiss chard, basil, cilantro, parsley, chives, arugula and strawberries.

Not to brag or exploit my nauseatingly cute dog for a blog post, but I felt compelled to share a photo of last night's strawberry harvest:

Westies ... faithful guardians of your strawberry bowl.

We'd just harvested two days prior, so I was surprised to see another whole new batch ripened and ready to go. It took me an hour to delicately monkey around my two strawberry patches without stepping on any plants but thoroughly searching under each one.

Really, picking strawberries, as simple as it is, isn't easy work. I kept thinking back to Eric Schlosser's Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market because of its scenes about migrant workers in California's strawberry fields. (Wonderful read, by the way.)

I'm in no way comparing myself to those hard-working individuals — I'm saying that I found a new appreciation last night for how difficult that job can be, that's all.

The rewarding feeling I got when I was staring at a heaping bowl of sustainably grown berries half the size of my dog was, well, rewarding. And these are the softest, juiciest, sweetest berries by the way.

I have no profound wrap-up to offer here. Just a simple appreciation for the literal fruits of backyard gardening.

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