Strawberries and alliums

strawberries harvest

The strawberries are in full swing now, pushing out lots of fruit which is ripening nicely in the sunshine.

There are a few little nibbles here and there, I found ants in one and a tiny woodlouse having a feast too. I noticed woodlice were a bit of a pest last year. There is a compost bin nearby, which is where you normally find them. Apparently they dry out easily which is why you usually find them in damp areas, so with the weather being hot and dry, I imagine the strawberries are a good source of moisture for them, and I’m guessing the ants are just getting their fix of sugar from a hole created by someone else. So that’s birds, mice, slugs, ants and woodlice I need to fight for my strawberries! Probably a whole host of other things I don’t know about too.

In any case, the majority of these will be going in to making jam, so a bit cut off here or there doesn’t matter. As lovely as they are eaten fresh, I have to be very careful with strawberries as I have a slight allergy to them, as I discovered last summer. Too many and I break out in mouth ulcers or a hideous rash around my mouth. Neither of which are nice, but I’m okay with jam, something about the process of cooking them removes or at least reduces the chemical that causes the allergy. I’m hoping I’ll also be okay with strawberry vodka, because I really fancy making some of that this year if I get enough of them.

garlic bed

garlic rust

On the allium front, there’s good news and bad. The garlic is completely covered in rust. This means it won’t grow any more and I’ll have to take my chances and dig it up soon. I don’t know whether the rust ever affects the bulbs (apart from checking it’s growth) but there’s little point in leaving it like this in case the rust spreads across to affect other plants. It’s a couple of weeks away from when I would normally pull it up, so it’s not the end of the world, but I’m not hopeful for very large bulbs.

shallots

Strangely though, the shallots which are growing right next door, are unaffected and looking good. I think these are nearly ready to lift, but I’ll wait for the tops to bend over like onions do. That’s their way of telling you they’ve had enough and can’t possibly grow any more.

onion bed

And the main crop onions are looking good this year too. A few have started to bolt (pushing up flower stalks) but not many, and they otherwise look green and healthy with bulbs that are starting to fatten up nicely. You win some, you loose some, as I say a little too often.

There’ll be leek planting on a major scale this weekend if the weather holds out.

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