Last month when I was at the Garden2Blog at P. Allen’s Smith’s place in Little Rock, AR, one of the event sponsors was Corona Tools, and they invited bloggers at the event to participate in their new project. The “Strawberry Fields for Everyone” project was created as a contest to show gardeners that however small their garden plot is, anyone can grow food! To help us demonstrate this, Corona has teamed up with Stark Bro.’s to send participants 3 free Tribute strawberry plants and a new Corona trowel.
Now, I was really excited about this and couldn’t wait to get my goodies in the mail. I’m not that experienced as a food-grower, and in particular, I’ve never grown strawberries! So I thought I better do Corona, Stark Bro.’s and my readership proud by boning up on strawberry planting in Austin. Much to my dismay, I found out that strawberries should be planted in the fall in this area, not in May! But, I’m a stubborn girl, so I’m plowing ahead! A contest does not wait til fall. So here we go–here’s the planter I’m turning in to my own little strawberry patch:
I know, pretty gross, right? I thought I’d make the pic extra-grande big so you could better appreciate the nastiness I started with. It wasn’t always this bad, in fact, 6 weeks ago it was really nice! I had lemon thyme, basil and chives in this little rail planting. I had visions of the thyme billowing over the edges of the planter and making pesto from all the basil I would harvest. But alas, it was not to be–I had three trips out of town in one month, so my 3rd story balcony plants took a beating!
So I cleaned out the planter, got my strawberry plants, new trowel and some organic Jobe’s fertilizer* and went to work. Since this is a contest, there are rules:
- Creativity: planting method that maximizes space
- Production: planting method that yields the greatest number of berries
- Comments: the greatest number of comments and questions generated on your blog
- Bonus points: additional points for any rhizomes your plants may produce
So I know I’m already starting out with a couple of strikes against me: my strawberries aren’t likely to produce any berries since I’m planting at the wrong time for our area, and I would be surprised if they produced any rhizomes. The reading I’ve done says I’ll be lucky to get my wee seedlings through our brutal summers at all, so what am I going to do? I’m going for the creativity and bonus points!
I planted all three Tribute strawberries in my planter, which gets full morning sun and bright afternoon shade. With how strong our Texas sun is, most plants that typically demand full sun will appreciate a bit of afternoon relief. Let’s hope our strawberries agree.
Then I polished it off with some wine corks to act as mulch–these hayrack planters dry out so easily, and 3rd floor balconies are so windy that they dry out even quicker. But, it still seemed a bit, well, brown, until my little plants take off, so I added an adorable ceramic mushroom for a bit of bling. So I’m hoping I’ll score points in the creativity department, and if you all add comments and questions then we’ve got the bonus points covered!
*I received my Jobe’s organic fertilizer free after the Garden2Blog event; Jobe’s is developing their line of organics and graciously sent participants samples to try out. Thank you, Jobe’s!