Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday morning gardening: Ripe strawberry alert!

My Victory Garden was almost defeated this year.

I began the season with high hopes. Despite the late start to summer (or perhaps because of it) my lettuce leafed out early and grew wildly into the heat of July. Spinach too. My third-season strawberries yielded many ripe fruits. Nothing like getting up in the morning and grabbing a few garden strawberries to much on or add to pancakes. I'm getting a new crop mow that cooler September weather has arrived. I snacked on a few new ripe ones this morning.

Only half of my strawberries survived the back-to-back hailstorms. Ditto for my tomatoes, squash and bean plants. Terrible to see the damage that a golf-ball-sized hailstone can do to a green leaf. Rips it to shreds. I was late getting home that mid-July day and only had time to cover the plants closest to the porch before I got pelted. Like getting smacked in the arm with an errant drive by an old duffer. After 15 minutes, there were thousands of ice balls in my yard. Young green tomatoes mixed in with the ice white. Would have been pretty if not so sad.

I was so busy with the garden that I didn't even think about my car and my roof. They both need replacing. 

Another hailstorm arrived a week later, right in the middle of our annual Frontier Days celebration. The nerve!  This one brought pea-sized hail, which wouldn't have been too bad, but it brought a lot of it. The storm that kept on giving. Again I covered the plants closest to the house but couldn't reach the rest of my pole beans and pumpkin plants. 

I did end up with a few servings of green beans and crookneck squash. I may get a few more squash if the frost holds off. I've only had a few vine-ripened tomatoes but I will have a bunch of green ones to ripen inside. Not quite the same, but they'll be good for a few salads and the football chili of October and November.

What's the lesson here?

I looked out my office window and spied a strawberry I missed during this morning's rounds. I am rising from my chair right now to go outside and eat said ripe fruit. It is red and inviting. 

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