The first of the berries were malformed, lumpy, small, ridiculous. The beach strawberries didn’t even bloom; they put all their energy into making more plants. I took the small disfigured berries to the nursery for a diagnosis: gray mold. A disaster also called Botrytis Fruit Rot. Here’s a photo. When I read the description of this disease I was tempted to pull out all the strawberries and use the bed for something less difficult. But there were a few good berries, so I waited. Luckily.
The weather warmed. The sun came out. The berry plants grew. And the gray mold disappeared. Or rather, went into hiding. I think the heat wave in July may have caused it’s demise. But the heat didn’t hurt the berries. They have continued to produce at least a cup of good berries every day. As the plants become larger, so do the berries. I’m delighted. I pulled out all the beach strawberries, and let the runners from the Tristars gow into the empty part of the bed. Now even those runners are producing. I think the beach strawberries would make a good ground cover, but not a producing berry patch. So, they’re history.
The strawberries continue to grow bigger berries. I will have to figure out how to freeze them. In the meantime, here’s how we ate the early crop. We didn’t have whipping cream on hand, so used vanilla yogurt. It was good.
Basic Banana Bread
2 1/2 C. all-purpose flour
1 C. sugar
3 1/2 tsp. baking bowder
1 tsp. salt
3 T. canola oil
3/4 C. milk
1 C. mashed ripe bananas
1 C. chopped nuts
Grease and flour a loaf pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl, beat at medium speed for a minute. Scrape bowl a couple of times. Pour into pan. Bake 55 – 65 minutes, until tester comes out clean. Remove from pan. Cool. Slice. Enjoy.