Today I cut back my strawberry plants.
I’ve had a bumper harvest of strawberries this year, there would have been even more if there wasn’t so many slugs and snails around in the damp weather.
The strawberries are sitting in my freezer, waiting for me to make strawberry jam for my youngest daughter, she absolutely adores it.
I will make jam as soon as I get time.
After my strawberries have finished fruiting, I cut them back and have a general tidy up around them. Cutting them back helps produce more fruit the following year. I removed the straw that was under the plants and put it onto my compost heap and weeded around them. I then cut the strawberries back to approximately 3 inches (8 cm’s) from the crowns. It always looks harsh but they grow back really well.
This is the second year my plants have fruited so I am not keeping any runners, so I cut them all off.
Strawberries are best replaced after four years as their yield starts to reduce and viruses and diseases have a tendency to build up.
If I wanted to increase my stock I would just peg down the runners with a large stone or wire, so that the new plantlets were in contact with the soil. When they have good roots on them at the beginning of September, I cut each runner from their parent and replant it where I want it to grow. This way they are settled before the winter and produce fruit the following year.
Today I picked my first patty pans. They are from two different plants that I have outdoors.
Patty pans are lovely and I use them in the same way I use butternut squash. We like them fried in a little olive oil, but they can be roasted in the oven, or you can just make soup with them.
If you pick patty pans when they are the size of your palm, they won’t have seeds in and you can eat the whole thing.
Once the plant starts to produce fruit, they are like courgettes, as they keep coming and coming until the end of summer.
Amazingly, my outdoor plants have produced patty pans before the plant that I have in my polytunnel. I have learnt from this and will probably not plant them in my polytunnel again. I wonder if it was either too humid for the plant, as a couple have just rotted after they started to form, or if pollination hasn’t occurred, which can have the same effect.
I would be interested to hear from anyone who has problems growing them in a greenhouse or polytunnel.
Before I left the allotment this morning I dead headed my flowers to encourage more flowers to produce. I am very pleased with the sweet peas that are growing. They smell beautiful when I walk through the archway each day.
Cleaning the old fashioned way continued…
Today I am looking at using Lemon Juice:
Lemon juice – is a mild acid which has a bleaching and deodorising effect. It also dissolves grease. It is an antibacterial and antifungal cleaner. As it is acidic and is a natural bleach be careful to test on small hidden areas first and again don’t use it on marble.
Below are some ways to use Lemon Juice:
If you don’t have any vinegar then use lemon juice as an alternative, as it cuts through grease. Lemon juice diluted in hot water is a great gentle cleaner for the kitchen.
Lemon juice can be used to dissolve soap scum and can remove lime scale. You can use lemon juice on bathroom taps to make them shine.
Wipe lemon juice on a chopping board as it is antibacterial and it will remove stains and smells.
Rub lemon juice on your hands if they smell strongly of garlic or onion as it will remove the smell.
Cut a lemon in half and leave it in your fridge to give a fresh smell to your fridge.
Make a cleaning paste with lemon juice and bicarb.
Make up a polish by using 2 parts olive oil and 1 part lemon juice. It polishes wood well.
Lemon juice is great for cleaning tarnished brass and copper. Dip half a lemon in salt and this makes an acidic scrub.
Cut half a lemon and dip it in bicarb and use to clean surfaces and stains.
Put a couple of slices of lemon in a bowl of water in your microwave and cook on high for 3 or 4 of minutes. You will be able to wipe it clean easily afterwards.
Put left over lemons in your dishwasher to give your pots a lovely lemon smell and an extra shine.
Yesterday I talked about using ‘bicarb’ and I wanted to show you an example of how well it really cleans:
This is my sink before I cleaned it.
I cleaned it with bicarb on a damp cloth and I used an old toothbrush to clean around the plug hole.
Below is the sink after I cleaned it:
This proves that the bicarb really does work and it only took me a few minutes to do.
This is the end of my ‘old fashioned’ cleaning tips for the week.
I will shortly put all the cleaning tips from the last three days in categories, at the side of my blog. This way you can refer back to them quickly if you need to.
I hope you have enjoyed reading about old fashioned cleaning methods. I would love to hear your comments and any old fashioned cleaning tips that you use.
Well that’s it for today. Thank you for reading my post.