Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Strawberries in the Desert

When Amber Rose, my granddaughter, asked me if we could grow strawberries last Fall I reluctantly purchased some small sad looking plants from a local nursery. Growing strawberries in the desert just didn't sound like a good idea to me. I planted them in a large fiberglass whisky barrel (Home Depot), which I've learned lasts much longer than one made of wood in Tucson's hot and dry climate.
So here we are in March enjoying delicious strawberries. What a kick! To protect the fruit from birds it is necessary to lay a piece of rabbit wire over the top of the barrel. I now have 5 barrels and two thick porcelin sinks in addition to my two 4' X 8' raised beds and find them excellent containers for growing beans, cucumbers, peas and tomatoes.
It has been a very mild winter and spring is already poised to turn to summer. This season I have put in snap peas, yellow squash, zucchini, cucumbers, egg plant and two varieties of cherry tomatoes (large beefsteak tomatoes are tough to grow in Tucson). When my niece from Sweden, Sarah, visited in January she introduced us to a wonderful concoction called ratatouille, which uses copious amounts of zucchini, eggplant and tomato. It can be eaten cold, hot, in spaghetti sauce, on toast - the list is endless. It also lasts well in the fridge and can be frozen. My hope is we can successfully grow enough of these vegetables to keep an ongoing supply of ratatouille in our fridge throughout the summer.


The Smiths said...

We finally got my fiberglass barrel from Lowes and planted strawberries last month. We have 6 fruit on the vine. Excitement in our garden!

The Smiths said...

Any encouragement on cucumbers? I have plant 2 lemon cucumbers with no luck. One in the sun, the other in a partial sun area. Too much water? Or not enough? Also my canaloupe are struggling. 1:3 bit the dust.