Thursday, May 15, 2008
Sunshine and Berries and Gardening in my Nightgown
(Page from my journal with one of my favorite quotes)
This morning when my granddaughter Sara was helping me in the garden, I realized that every child needs a patch or border of strawberries. Plant the berries in a sunny plot of ground, a large pot or half barrel, and amend the soil with compost. Top the berry patch with mulch or shredded bark.
I planted borders of Fraises des bois, which my grandchildren call "Faerie Berries," and I also planted a circle of 'Sequoia' and 'Fresca' strawberries under our Fuji apple tree. The strawberries are thriving and happy to shoulder in among the dianthus and nepeta 'Walker's Low.' Every morning for the past few weeks, I have picked a little basket of berries for breakfast and to give to Sara for snacks.
Last week, I scoured the neighborhood for pine needles and found some under my friend Kary's pine tree. I gathered a bag full, and, in the morning, tucked them around my plants. The needles discourage slugs and snails and elevate the berries above the soil to prevent rot. A thick mulch of pine needles excludes weeds, conserves moisture, and as they break down, they feed the soil.
For all of you readers who are planting your sunflowers now, let me give you a simple piece of advice. Instead of direct sowing your sunflowers, plant the seeds in a paper cup filled with good soil. Poke lots of drainage holes in the bottom of the cup, which will disintegrate after awhile. Set the cup wherever you want your sunflowers to grow; bury the cup with at least 2" protruding above the ground. The cup will protect your young plants from a multitude of hungry critters.