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Kevin got me a new pair of mud boots, called “Sloggers.” My old Birkenstocks had kinda exploded, and the mud boots are awesome anyhow, given how much mud there is in North Carolina in the spring. (I do not have DIRT paths. Oh no. Dirt is for summer.) The boots have enormous flowers all over them. Kevin got them for me with the understanding that if I wear them in public, he is allowed to call the people at What Not To Wear. I agreed to these terms, as they are fair. The boots are wonderful, but quite, quite hideous. Gardening is a fundamentally frumpadelic-activity, though, and I enjoy them enormously in their place.

The weather continues to be freaky weird. We’re getting down to 18 degrees this weekend. It was 70 a little while ago. I am hoping that this will kill off any ticks that decided to come out, but fear for its effect on my established plants. I’m less worried about the seeds. Most of the seeds I’ve planted out have A) not sprouted yet and B) tolerate frost, and even if they are killed horribly by a hard ground freeze…darn. I’ll have to re-open the seed packet. (Seriously, given the small size of my vegetable gardening ambitions, seeds will generally pass their reliable germination rate long before I am done with a packet. Six scarlet runner beans is madly ambitious of me, and there’s 25 in a pack. I have no idea how anybody gets through 200 heirloom peas.)

Hmm, now that I think of it, a 25 foot soaker hose would be helpful for the one veggie bed before things actually start growing and it gets hard to water…

Transplanted various plants that are supposed to be divided “in early spring, before breaking dormancy.” I think the Dutchman’s pipe might have qualified. Nothing else bothered to even BE dormant. I transplanted it anyway. I’ve already realized that I’m going to have to wait until fall to finally plant my potted blueberries, because they are so covered with buds, (possibly owing to my tentative pruning? Maybe?) that it’d kill me to lose the crop. We’re going to go with that reason, and not the bit where the bed they’re supposed to go into isn’t done because the patio isn’t dug yet because I HAVEN’T DONE IT YET, OKAY?!

I have mulched mightily, though. Well, mushroom-composted mightily, which is sort of mulching. Both veggie beds, a semi-shaded back bed that will soon receive my much abused oakleaf hydrangea, (come to think of it, I need a soaker hose for back there, too…damn, I should just buy a box of those things…) and now I’m starting on the front yard. Except for the bee balm.  If I fertilize the bee balm, they will find that stuff in orbit. The bee balm can suck it.

This year I will finally try strawberry planters, because it is silly that I have never actually done so. The strawberry plants are already out at Lowes, but they ain’t cheap. I’m going to wait and see if the feed store carries any. I have two strawberry planters, one large and one small, and have been reading about tricks with toilet paper tubes to keep the roots of all of them well-watered, but at nearly $3 a plant, I could go out to the pick-your-own place and come home with a bushel for the price of filling in the planters.

This weekend it will be very cold. I will have to wear my Cthulhu hat to mulch in. Darn.

Originally published at Squash's Garden. You can comment here or there.


Boots AND Cthulu hat!!!


(Suspicious comment)
Do NOT use the plants from Lowes or Home Depot. They are GM plants not meant to last. The feed store is your best bet for any actual plants.

(GM = genetically modified/cloned)

I don't know why but the comment about the bee balm ending up in orbit gave me a hysterical case of the giggles.

Me too. And yet, I have NO idea what she's talking about!

Strawberries are nigh-on indestructible. Back in DC at my parents' place, we've got two varieties of everbearing strawberry. Bought both of them so many years ago I cannot even remember where they came from or exactly when they came into my possession. They've been through numerous winters, including Snowmaggedon, with minimal to no protection. Just left 'em on the back deck in their pots, and they survived. Had them growing in crappy plastic tubs for awhile, switched them to half wine barrels last year, and they've survived all of that no worse for the wear. Despite getting leaf scorch, they fruited all of last summer.

You may end up sharing part of your strawberry crop with the local squirrels and birds. The Gray Catbirds were notorious for diving into the strawberry patch and emerging with small chunks of berry in their beaks. I gave up trying to protect the berries and resigned myself to sharing with the wildlife.

Trying to remember the names of the varieties. I know one is 'Tristar'. I think the other is 'Tribute'. Both fruit all summer. One of them consistently produces berries shaped like butts, but they taste fine anyway. I highly recommend those two varieties, if only because they've been reliable and hardy.

You definitely want to pay attention to varieties when purchasing strawberries. My parents for a while grew strawberries commercially on a very small scale. They had two varieties. One, Cambridge Favourite, designed for commercial use, produced perfect conical strawberries of a strong crimson colour with shelf life of several days. The only problem was that they had little flavour ans what they had seemed a bit synthetic. The other, Gorella, produced huge wedge shaped strawberries which tended to have green streaks on them. The were definitely pick and eat same day - after 24 hour they looked very sad. But they were delicious - once you got used to them you spurned Cambridge Favourite. And I still don't really like "no name" strawberries from mass producers.

I think you should wear the hat and boots to Opening Ceremonies at ConQuesT. Just 'cause.

'Frumpadelic' is my word for the week. Just putting that out there.

OK, a Cthulu hat and flowery boots? There has to be a picture. Perhaps we can bribe alchemist with beer.....

Hope hard. I'm in NS and I pulled a tick off one of my cats last month. The weather's gone screwy all over this year.

My grandmother loved her strawberry planters but to the best of my recollection never actually put strawberries in them. Instead, she was fond of filling them with impatiens and plunking them on the patio under her magnolia tree.

If we're talking about the same thing, I always assumed it was the shape and not the plants inside that named them strawberry pots. Actually planting strawberries seems a little strange.

Ooh. Wear them in public. I want to watch that episode.

And you know how you have trouble with columbines? That's my problem with bee balm [envy].

Seconded!! Ursula on What Not to Wear would be made of win!!

One of the great things about strawberries is how quickly they multiply. I started out with 4 everbearing ones (two Sequoyas, which did well, and two others that did okay but don't remember the name of) and now have a respectable strawberry patch and a bunch in containers. It's really just the initial investment, and then you're good to go.

You do have to pick 'em fast though, critters love 'em.

Yep. We're seeing how far down our half-acre plot we can run our strawberry plants. Right now, they've been under snow and frost for the last week, but they'll quickly shrug that off and resume their surreptitious advance on the cabbages.

Edited at 2012-02-10 10:29 am (UTC)

I have no idea how anybody gets through 200 heirloom peas.

Pea-shoots! Plant 'em, sprout 'em, pick 'em while they're still little baby sproutlings. Cut 'em off at ground level, they'll come up three or four times. Lovely in a salad.


I sometimes wonder which, in a cage-match battle between strawberries and spearmint plants, would win in the end. You don't have to buy strawberries, just ask someone who has them for a few starts. You don't have to laboratory-clone them either, because they clone themselves.

For a while, I worked in the southeastern desert part of Washington state, and somebody had planted strawberries there. Despite ground-squirrels, drought, mowing, and harsh winters, they thrived and spread.

I think the reason people raise them in planters is to keep them out of the garden.

Of course I'd like to see pictures of the boots. There are some lovely ladies Wellies out there!

I have gardening question for blog readers at large--I just moved into a new house in Durham. The soil is a two foot layer of red clay over solid granite. Anyone have advice/resources on how to turn this into a place plants can live?</p>