I'm here to declare that my strawberries have made me sad this year. Last year I had huge berries in abundance. I do not know if it stayed too cold for too long, or if there wasn't enough rain in the late spring, or if the bindweed has simply won. (What do you do with an infestation of bindweed short of nuclear annihilation? )
I have picked some berries, but they are small and don't even have that delicious aroma of ripe berries when I have a bowl of them in the kitchen. They are quite seedy, which may seem a strange thing to say since all strawberries are quite seedy, but they are more seedy than normal. And so it makes me sad because I was looking forward to many bags of frozen berries as well as replenishing my jam supplies. I did make one batch of jam, but I like to do two or three. Maybe by the weekend?
This year my husband made four protection "cages" for my seedlings. He used fencing boards and chicken wire. They are heavy enough to stay in place, but light enough to be easily lifted and moved. I've lost so many young plants and seedlings to rabbits, birds, and other critters, so I asked him to create something like this. He's so talented that he whipped these up in no time. In the foreground you can see tomato plants with tomato cages in place. The blue strips are plastic bag that I cut into strips to flap around in the breeze with the hopes of deterring birds. I've had birds come along and snip young tomato plants right off. These are surviving nicely.
Underneath my protection frames I have: beets, two kinds of lettuce, green beans, peas, onions, peppers and basil. The peppers and basil are too tall to fit under the frames, so I put rocks under the edges to raise the frame up. I also have cucumbers, zuchinni, and potatoes. The potatoes are just starting to come through the soil.
Here is a closer look at one of the frames. They are as long as the length of a fence board. They are as wide as a fence board cut in half. They could probably be a little longer, but that would have made them harder to build quickly and cheaply. Yes, I am still using white plastic spoons as row labels, written on with sharpie marker. The protection frames are definitely doing their job. The beans growing under it are healthy and getting bigger. The beans that are not covered by the frame are chewed and half the size.
My vegetable garden is not very big anymore, but I try to cram a lot into a little space. And I plant throughout the season. I can't wait for the "firsts" - first lettuce in a salad, first ripe cherry tomato, first beans eaten right in the garden.
We are in for a few scorcher days in Ontario. I honestly don't mind and we don't even have air conditioning. Our old house stays quite cool, on the first floor. The upstairs bedrooms do get warm, but every room has ceiling fans and we have a small window air conditioner in our bedroom. I'll keep the garden watered and watch things grow!