Friday, June 17, 2011

A Strawberry Moon

Did you catch a glimpse of the full moon on Wednesday? It was an eye popper, a jaw dropper and if you happened to be in your car when it came into view, as I was, a horn beeper. And did you know this was the Strawberry Moon? The Algonquin Indians named each full moon to help keep track of the seasons and since June is the season of the strawberry harvest I guess that was reason enough.

I planted my very first garden during the summer I turned 18 (almost 40 years ago), though never attempted growing strawberries until two years back. That fall my daughter Melanie brought us a bundle of strawberry plants she and her partner had rooted from runners off their own plants. Unwilling to give up an established garden bed my best friend and I spent the better part of a day hand digging and preparing the designated strawberry patch. We even went deep into the woods to rake and gather pine needles for side dressing and to help increase the acidity level in the soil. We wanted happy plants. After tucking in the new starts we mulched them heavy with straw to protect them over the long the winter. Spring arrived, the plants had wintered well and it wasn't long before they were full of flowers and what we hoped were soon to be, little red juicy, pop in your mouth bursts of flavor, berries. I believe we shared one partially eaten berry that June, just one. The birds and mice beat us to all the rest. This spring we decided to cover the plants with a fabric row cover to protect them from insects and birds. Well, guess what?

I picked over two quarts on Wednesday and will harvest another basket full tomorrow. This is the fun part of gardening. However, strawberries are not the only pretty things in my garden during the month of June. I may have suggested that every other June full moon be designated the Peony Moon.

As much as I love a juicy ripe strawberry, a peony in bloom knocks me over.

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