Early harvest

Big strawberry's top

As summer approaches my meagre garden begins to yield harvest. My tomatoes have been recalcitrant and I am still waiting tetchily for both Roma and Grosse Lisse varieties to bear viable fruit. (My jealousy of Sticky’s reports of tomatoes weeks ago therefore remains.) The story is different for my snowpeas and strawberries, thank goodness.

Adult snowpea Baby snowpea

Growing everything in pots brings with it a pile of hassles, not least that of maintaining the right amount of moisture for the strawberries, but lo! I have many pink babies, soon to flush red.

strawberries' first blush immature strawberries

To tell you the truth, I have already had one early delivery, but was so excited that I ate it before remembering to photograph its final ruddy joy. To compensate, dear readers, I offer up a photo of the biggest strawberries I’ve ever seen, sold by Damien Pike at Melbourne’s Prahran Market for a dollar a piece. Ouch. But they were delicious and pretty.

Strawberries like eyesockets!
Modelled by my friend Debbie 🙂

Big strawberry

Meanwhile, I’ve fed the tomatoes some potash and overnight the flowers are fruiting! Cocaine for tomatoes… or something like that.


13 thoughts on “Early harvest”

  1. awesome duncan.
    i have 7 romas on one plant. i can’t believe how excited I am, but it’s the first time i’ve grown anything edible since primary school. who woulda thought, that on a balcony across from the railway yards, 2km out of the centre of sydney would be… tomatoes growing!!!

  2. Wow I have strawberry envy.

    My progress report: We have some raspberries about to ripen – fingers crossed – we bought the vine at a Sunday market in Trentham about a month ago and fruiting started as soon as it was transplanted into a big pot of worm castings.

    The lettuces are coming along, but the rocket and coriander began going to seed after that 36degree day so I had to pinch their tops off.

    We have been enjoying the tomatoes – Suplice and Hardy Tom were the first to arrive and the Apollos have grown big and fat but are still to ripen. I am considering buying more seedlings tomorrow at the St.Kilda Farmers market to extend our season of enjoyment.

  3. I envy all you lot with your green thumbs! Me, I just wish I could get a damn pot of basil to stay alive 🙁 lost the fourth one last week after it put up a valiant effort to survive my killer hands :/ *sigh* home grown tomatoes and strawberries are just not in my future anytime soon, I’m afraid…

    and $1 per strawberry? Yeouch!

  4. Oh Ellie – Basil is so fickle, it’s not the easiest herb to grow and so vulnerable to bugs. We also have a hard time growing thyme.

    Best to start off with rosemary, oregano, chives and mint which are way more hardy.

    Today we planted sage and lemon thyme, more tomatoes – Amish Paste and Ox Heart from Ceres – and strawberries in our self watering pots. Not sure whats happening with our garlic though, the greens are already wilting.

  5. @Ellie: I have to agree with stickyfingers — basil can be a real pain. You should avoid watering it in the afternoon/evening cos it doesn’t like wet feet at bedtime. With mint, plant it in pots rather than in the garden, cos it is a very invasive thing.

    @sticky and grocer: congrats! Sounds like lots of growing is happening out there! And Vida too…

  6. Lucky you with your strawberries. Looks like your doing a good job. I remember wandering around my Great Aunties yard when I was a kid picking all her strawbs and eating them. Then I remember being chased around the yard being yelled at for devouring them all Ha Ha. She had an amazing green thumb. Gorgeous photos Dunk!

  7. Strawberries bring out the vulture in us;) I had four superb babies yesterday. Must find the tag for the variety.

    Congrats on the chillies, grocer! My bush died last year and I didn’t get around to growing a new plant this year.

  8. We’re still persisting with our tomatoes, even though we don’t get much yield from them. I think we’ve maybe had a handful of puny Grosse Lisses to date. The poor plant always looks like it’s practically straining to give birth to some fruit, any fruit.

    Ellie : I haven’t had much luck with big leafed basil myself, but what seems to be more hardy, is Greek basil, or baby basil – restaurants use a lot of these because the leaves are much smaller and they’re great for presentation. I haven’t managed to kill off my pot of that basil yet!

  9. Something that may help a lot of home tomato growers is to plant the seedling very deep. In fact you can bury the first few leaves on the stem of a seedling and the stem will send out roots in that area, making the plant significantly stronger and hardier, able to support more fruit.

    If you find that they aren’t producing many flowers as the plants mature, do as Duncan has done and water in Potash, which is the natural way to encouraging flowering on all plants. Another tip is that the plants like heat – if you don’t have a warm enough flower bed, like us, put them in a pot in a hot place.

    We love having our heritage plants and their fruit. We’re not bothered that they are slower growing than commercial varieties, because they taste so good.

  10. Hi Duncan,

    I’m a bit slow on he uptake, I know. Just wanted to say this page (and others recently added) look AMAZING (and that includes the photo of moi!).

    By the way, I can vouch for the tastiness of Duncan’s homegrown berries (thanks Duncan!) and macarons (double thanks) and other items (triple thanks),


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