Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Great Strawberry Battle

My children are addicted to strawberries. Pace our youngest can eat an entire punnet without a blink of an eye. I had heard that strawberries were high on the pesticide list and I could understand why.Growing strawberries at our place has always meant one for us and three for the slaters. However when The Environmental Working Group released their 2011 Dirty Dozen list Strawberries were up there at number 3!!! Scary stuff considering how easy they are to eat. Further research and I found that is not even as easy as washing them before I feed them to the kids. Most of the pesticides and herbicides are absorbed into the fruit as it grows. This was not good news!
I have had an old pot belly stove planted with strawberries since we moved in but this was really just for a treat as I walked around the garden.

So last year the decision was made to try and plant as many strawberry plants as possible to see if we could even make a dent in the strawberry consumption with home grown produce. I drooled over photos of others (usually in the USA or UK) with huge hedges of strawberries and tried to replicate with 24 strawberry plants in the orchard.I had dreams of our own cardboard punnets of strawberries and jars of strawberry jam in my head. Well I think we ate about 10 strawberries last summer.With the combination of slater attack and scorching sun they did not survive. Strawberry season ended and I forgot about our strawberry attempt until last month when there they were again in the markets and shopping centres, plastic boxes (yuck) of bright red sweet strawberries. But this time all I could see was a box of poison so back to the strawberry harvest idea. This year they will all be above ground to keep the slaters away (hopefully).

Lovely one was set the task of creating a strawberry box and I replanted the pot belly with new stock and a large pot by the front door.

So now there are about 30 plants above the ground that will hopefully keep my strawberry fiends happy. Wish them luck!!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Fay,
    I have had trouble growing stawberries when they are low to the ground. I ended up puttinf some in hanging baskets mixed with Allysum to attract the bees. That worked well. I have one of those terracotta pots especially made for growing strawberries, you know the ones with the little pockets on the side. I found this one on the side of the road so it is really special. But I found it was even better when I propped it up on an old step ladder, out of reach of the slugs. Got lots of strawberries. Yum!
    thanks for the info about the poisons, I had not thought them so bad.