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First strawberries of the season (& 2 easy strawberry dessert recipes)

Annette
Super Contributor

First strawberries of the season (& 2 easy strawberry dessert recipes)

Today I picked the equivalent of 2 punnets of strawberries. Some of the strawberries are whoppers (the plate in the picture is a large dinner plate, not a small bread and butter plate).

 

Tonight I will be making "Eton Mess" which consists of mascerated strawberries, whipped cream and lightly crushed meringues. Just combine the strawberries, whipped cream and meringues just before serving. This is absolutely divine - just like a de-constructed pavlova. 

 

Another gorgeous way to have fresh strawberries is "Sweet and Sour Strawberries" - just stir some sour cream in a bowl, place brown sugar in another bowl,  and then by holding the strawberry by the stem or leaves, dip the strawberry into the sour cream, giving it a liberal coating, and then roll the coated strawberry into the brown sugar - eat and enjoy - yummmmmmmmmmmmm!

 

Do other members have a favourite way to serve strawberries?

 

First Strawberries for 2016/2017

CathD
Super Contributor

Re: First strawberries of the season (& 2 easy strawberry dessert recipes)

Yum. I would be eating them as I picked them. I love them when they are warm from the sunshine and burst in your mouth. 

Jackson
Super Contributor

Re: First strawberries of the season (& 2 easy strawberry dessert recipes)

@Annette - does this count?

 

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Annette
Super Contributor

Re: First strawberries of the season (& 2 easy strawberry dessert recipes)

Very funny @Jackson  

Mick0s
Established Contributor

Re: First strawberries of the season (& 2 easy strawberry dessert recipes)

Lovely crop @Annette.
We've got a small patch just starting up, the 2 year old is loving it, and even decorated it with painted rocks with googley eyes.

 

Here they are, when freshly planted, and about a month later.  3 regular strawberry plants, and one blondie in the middle.

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Wondering what you do to keep the pests away. We were eagerly awaiting the first fruit, but I seems to have had a hole eaten out of it overnight, so I think we need to deter critters somehow.

Annette
Super Contributor

Re: First strawberries of the season (& 2 easy strawberry dessert recipes)

@Mick0s - We haven't had too much trouble with pests except for earwigs. Has anyone got a deterrent for earwigs? 

 

My top tips for growing strawberries:

  • Plant strawberry plants at least 1 foot apart or if planting in pots only put 1 plant in a pot 12" across - this helps to prevent overcrowding and increases air circulation therefore growing bigger strawberries. I tend to plant them near the edge of the container rather than in the centre to allow the fruit to drape over the side of the container rather than lay on the soil. This makes them cleaner and much easier to see when picking.
  • Plant strawberries in well draining soil enriched with compost and manure.
  • Fertilise about once a month - we always fertilise the entire garden with a seaweed solution on the first weekend of the month which is easy to remember.
  • Remove dead leaves as they appear as it makes for a more attractive plant and helps keep the fruit clean.
  • Place mulch around the plant and under the leaves to keep the strawberries clean from dirt and prevent mould etc. - we use sugar cane mulch. We also make the occasional trip to the local pine forest and collect pine needles which is good for strawberries as they like the acidity. I crush the pine needles up a bit which makes it a bit easier to apply around the plants.
  • During the fruiting season, cut off any runners so that it directs the growth to flowers and fruit instead of to the runners.
  • When transplanting strawberries take care not to disturb the roots too much as it causes stress to the plant. Strawberries have a very robust root system and it can be sometimes difficult to separate plants. Also, take care not to bury the crowns of the strawberry plant.
  • Later in the season when the strawberries are slowing down, let the runners grow. Place the runner which is still attached to the "mother" plant into a separate pot. If the mother plant is in a pot or raised bed and the runner is not long enough to reach the ground, place the pot for the runner on a brick or anything else to raise the height of the runner pot. When the runner has taken root and not before, cut the runner from the mother plant and voilà - you have another plant. I started out with 20 strawberry plants 3 years ago and I now have about 250 plants. Last year I had about 170 plants and collected a total of 30-35 kilos of strawberries over the whole season. I'll let the forum know how many strawberries I get at the end of this season.
  • Strawberry plants only produce well for 3-4 years so grow some runners to replace the older plants as required. They also make great gifts for friends and family.
  • At the end of the season prune the strawberry plants back and remove dead foliage.
  • To save room or if space is limited grow vertically as much as possible. As shown in the picture below, I got Hubby to build ledges along the top of the picket fence and placed long narrow pots on the ledges. These pots have 2 plants in each pot. I also purchased some herb / strawberry tower containers (from Aldi) which are 5 containers high. The tower holds 15 plants and only takes up about 2 - 3 square feet as opposed to only 6 plants which are in the 3 white pots ( 2 in each pot) along the bottom of the fence.

If anyone has other tips for growing strawberries or even to correct any of the information I have given, I would really appreciate it.

 

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Community Manager Jason
Community Manager

Re: First strawberries of the season (& 2 easy strawberry dessert recipes)

We've never had much success with strawberries because of pests @Mick0s. We assume it was rats nibbling on them, or possibly possums. We've tried this year to plant some in the vegepod to keep the pests at bay, but I'm not expecting success because the vegepod lid is also keeping the bees out.

 

Jason  

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Annette
Super Contributor

Re: First strawberries of the season (& 2 easy strawberry dessert recipes)

@Mick0s I just picked another 2 punnets of strawberries (that makes 5 in total for this season) and saw quite a few small slugs. I will spread some snail bait around (pet safe) and see if that fixes the problem. We have never seen possums in our area so our pests are of the smaller variety. I have several spare large grow bags full of strawberries if you'd like some (I know you are also in Canberra). Let me know if you do want some, you are more than welcome to have any spares. I also have many spare seedlings of tomato (Appollo, Siberian, Roma and a mystery cherry one), cucumber, zucchini, paprika and some succulents if you are interested.

Community Manager Jason
Community Manager

Re: First strawberries of the season (& 2 easy strawberry dessert recipes)

Very generous @Annette. I wish I lived near you!

 

Jason

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Mick0s
Established Contributor

Re: First strawberries of the season (& 2 easy strawberry dessert recipes)

Thanks for the kind offer @Annette.

Unfortunately, I've still got to put in some work to get a propper veggie patch together and up and running, so don't realy have the space for anything other than our little strawberry patch at the moment.

 

I'll definitely keep it in mine when we finally get around to a real veggie garden.  (Soo much on the list before this though!)  

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