Pleasure is a relative thing. When you eat seasonally, absence of a favorite food from your diet can heighten the anticipation of when it arrives in season.
Although we had surplus strawberries last year and did freeze a bunch that we have been eating throughout the year, it still doesn’t compare with fresh. Those available in the supermarkets are simply imitators — disguised as strawberries in appearance and maybe even texture, they are devoid of flavor and unappealing.
While strawberries in the garden do take some effort, the reward in flavor makes it so worthwhile. Thus to catch that first glimpse of a pink strawberry, indicating a ripe one is only days away, can be a cause of great anticipatory joy.
This does incite a need for action on my part however. While we enjoy fresh strawberries, so do the night critters — possums and racoons. Even if I wasn’t adverse to sharing with them, they aren’t very good dinner guests.
Strawberries form a canopy of leaves. When picking, you move aside the canopy and all the ripe red strawberries are easy to see in the greenery. The unwanted guests for some reason find it necessary to swirl the plants around and twist them into bunches. This makes the berries hard to see and necessitates having to unwind the plants to pick them, a tedious process.
The canopy serves another purpose — it creates a shade mulch. It keeps the sun from hitting the ground and prevents weeds from growing. When the plants get messed up, weeds start to grow.
To keep the critters from climbing my deer fence I use electrified wire. While unpleasant enough to deter touching it, it doesn’t hurt them other than a momentary unpleasantness. At the bottom of the deer fence there is a rabbit fence skirting. They climb that to get through the deer fence. So I have an electric wire at the top of the narrow openings in the rabbit fence.
This is fairly close to the ground so vegetation can grow up and short out the electric wire, rendering it ineffective, so it behooves me to keep vegetation off the wire. This time of year grasses are heading out and reach it.
The easy solution would be to spray herbicide but I am an organic grower so that isn’t an option. The alternative is a weed whacker and cut them down where the lawn mower can’t reach them,
Last year my son Tulasi was with us and he handled that task but this year it falls on me. I need to get it done in the next couple of days before the strawberries ripen and the critters discover them. Once they have a taste and a notion that something good is in there, they can become relentless and extremely clever at penetrating any defense. If I have the fence (turned off for winter snows) functioning before the strawberries ripen, they won’t know what they are missing and be less motivated.
When I first installed the electric wire, they were still getting in. I eventually figured out that they were grabbing the bottom of my gate and flexing it out enough to be able to slip in. So a second part of this is I have to start leaning a concrete block against its bottom.
While pink can be exciting, so can yellow, as in the first tomato blossom that opened up yesterday.
That is on the early 45 day variety of tomato I put out in the garden weeks ago under the protection of a cloche. I will be watching that with keen interest.