We enjoyed our first ripe strawberry of the season this morning. Nothing beats the sweet, sweet deliciousness of an organic, homegrown strawberry. Strawberries are probably the easiest fruit to grow in containers and do very well in hanging baskets, strawberry pots, or window boxes on sunny decks and balconies. I give mine little more than a little sea kelp and vermicompost (worm poo) fertilizer now and again and am sure to keep the soil consistently moist without drying out. The hybrids can take a bit of drought but I try not to push the plants too hard in order to get as much juicy, sweet fruit as possible.
This year I am growing both a pink flowering and a white flowering, everbearing hybrid that will produce two crops of berries, one this month and the second in late-summer/early-fall. Our first strawberry actually came from the canister plant but I missed getting a snap of it in Davin’s eagerness to taste. With today’s heat and humidity the berry shown in the above image should be ready by this evening!
If you’re looking for a hardy herb that will produce a harvest all season-long, and can withstand just about anything you can throw at it then look no further than chives. I’ve been growing this wash basin of chives for so many years I can’t for the life of me recall where I got the tub or the plant. All I know is that it is one of the few perennial herbs that I can count on to withstand an inconsistent and sometimes bitter winter in a container and additionally be the first plant up and providing garnishes for early spring soups.
Every spring I try and find a new way to fill in the gaps left by the plants that don’t have the fortitude of chives and give the planter a place of prominence as the first pretty thing to look at out on the rooftop deck. This particular planting received a lot of positive attention this spring so I thought I’d share it with you.
I use just about ever part of the plant. The early buds and fully open chive blossoms taste great in salads or steeped in vinegar to make a salad dressing.
What to do with a lone strawberry plant leftover from another soon-to-be-revealed project, a small flat of red violas ($3.50 for 16 plants!), and an old coffee canister that was thrifted as part of a 70s era fake woodgrain 4 part kitchen canister set?
Put them together!
I figure the red viola flowers will look great alongside the red strawberries and everything is edible. I poked holes in the bottom of the canister using a large, and very dangerous nail left behind by the dudes who installed new gutters on our building, filled the new “pot” with container soil, and mulched the top using shards from a terracotta pot that broke in transit — nothing is wasted! And to think I used to smirk at my grandmother’s tendancy to hourd Swiss Chalet containers and plastic bread ties — there was a lot of useful crap in those drawers!
It’s been about a week since I planted this up and I’ve already got little strawberries forming and new flowers in bloom.
Total cost about $2.
Now that we’ve moved into the next phase of spring — a stable phase when the threat of a random snowfall is safely behind us and temperatures are more consistently predictable — a new crop of blooms have begun to emerge. I’ve been happily carrying at least one camera around with me, capturing observations I happen upon on my routine errands.
Hooray for forsythia! My childhood memories of springtime are very connected to puffy bushes of these bright yellow blooms bursting on every front lawn regardless of the neighborhood. Forsythia is one of those plants that the classes seem to agree on — just about anyone can afford a small bush and no one is too good for its bright and cheery flowers.
Common Blue Violet (Viola sororia) This is the violet commonly found filling up lawns.
Elephant Ears (Bergenia cordifolia)
Glory-of-the-Snow (Chionodoxa forbesii) This is one of those pretty spring-blooming bulbs that naturalizes well. They are popping up all over the place these days and seem to last longer than some flowering bulbs that come and go with barely a chance to enjoy them.