Friday, October 18, 2013

Amazing Alpine Strawberries and garlic surprises

It was a lovely day today and I worked all day since my helpers didn't turn up. Anyway I want to talk about alpine strawberries. I love Alpine Strawberries. Although the fruit is small the plants have a lot going for them:

  • They prefer to grow in shade where not many other food plants like to grow - fernery, South side of a house, under a tree, or like me, in a garden bed with shadecloth cover.
  • They fruit for most of the year, the white ones tend to fruit for longer than the red, nearly all year
  • They are very yummy
  • They don't have runners but self seed readily and form neat clumps
  • Children love looking for ripe fruits, they never get into the house.

I have two beds of alpines, one red and one white. They are such easy going plants that I never tire of growing them. Although I would love to sell punnets of them at the markets they have two downfalls - they are too yummy and I tend to eat all the ones I pick, and they are soft and fragile so are hard to transport.

There are many types/varieties of alpines but I don't know variety names of the two I have, the only one I have tried but didn't like was 'Baron Solemacher'. The berries are small and I didn't like the taste so I pulled out all my BS plants.

One problem I have with garlic most years is this - see the pictures of my garlic below.

The extra shoots coming out the top of my garlic plants are actually the cloves that have started to grow early. The cloves can still be cooked fresh but can't be stored, or I just replant them immediately I pull the parent plants in November.
I have always thought that it was caused by a very wet spring and I still think that is the case but here in these photos the plants are in a raised bed with good drainage so maybe there are more reasons. It generally happens to some plants in all my varieties but these ones here, Monaro Purple, are very prone to it.

If you don't want to replant them you can use them like garlicy chives in your cooking.

My garlic is just sending up flower scapes now. Usually I sell the scapes for cooking at the markets but this year I don't have enough plants so I will be keeping them for bulblets to replant. I made the mistake of planting most of my Monaro Purple in a bed infested with Root Knot Nematode so they are doing really poorly and I won't get much to replant from them. Most of my Elephant garlic rotted in the ground for some reason (this spring was not as wet as last) and my Australian Whites are going well but since it is the first year for them I don't have many.

The only garlic I might have enough to sell are a small unnamed type, and even they aren't looking as good as normal. It seems to be just a bad year for garlic here.

No comments:

Post a Comment