Friday, May 30, 2008

Count 'em...two!

I don't know what the Chatelaine is complaining about 20 strawberries harvested. That's at least enough to fill a couple of baskets.

We have harvested...drumroll please...2 ripened strawberries, which managed to survive and early infestation of aphids, a heatwave, then touch of a cold spell on my wooden railing box on our balcony in Oakland. Twenty compared to two is fan-freaking-tabulous!

A few months ago I had asked some of the local plant sellers at the farmer's market down the street, what grows well in semi-shade. They told me fushia (which did not), nasturtiums (which are growing like mad but have yet to flower), and a strawberry plant. I bought all three having nothing to lose. They inspired me to clean up the balcony which had been a wreck since the building got painted and take down a cart full of junk from the deck. Stuff I thought I might have wanted to plant. Got rid of several spider plants and jade plants and tons of leaves from the near by tree.

For the past couple of months, I've had to go out each morning and take my soap water bottle and peek underneath each of the leaves and stems looking for those translucent green bugs. Aphids creep me out, they're like leeches of plants. I dislike most things that "bloodsuck". Fortunately, once the rose garden down the street came into bloom, the roses were much tastier than my lonely strawberry plant where an aphid must face a slippery torrential rainstorm every day.

The last week I've been watching the red coloring migrate it's way to the tip of the fruit. They had been a nice full bright red for two days now, so I decided to pick them today. Decently juicy though not too flavorful. I guess they could have gone longer on the stem. But while I've been able to keep most of my plants alive, most of those were indoors, I'm still not the great green thumb, and didn't want to push my luck.

Having a balcony makes all the difference living in the urban realm. I'd like to have a backyard one day with fruit trees, but for now will have to settle for my shady balcony.

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