Hand Pollinating Indoor Strawberries & Pineberries

When growing indoor strawberries or pineberries you will need to hand pollinate them. In essence you will take over the responsibilities of the bees, wind and other elements that would normally pollinate your berries. Don't be frightened off it's really not very hard and as long as you don't have a ton of indoor plants not too time consuming.  Below is a picture of the basic knowledge you will need to pollinate your new flower buds.

Aaah! Snow is killing everything!

3-25-13 I woke up this morning to snow covering my freshly bloomed Forsythias and everything else. Gross! This is going to set me back on blooms, berries and all other good things. So, I started gathering buckets, blankets and bags to start the long process of covering everything for protection.

Drain Pipe Planters - Vertical Gardening

About a month ago I purchased some TerraTrade Drain Pipe Planters off of Amazon.com. I got 2 sets of 3. Amazon has them for sale for 9 dollars for a set of 3 and if you spend 25 dollars you get free shipping so they are only 3 dollars a piece. I placed one Grape Hyacinth plant in each pot then hung them on our drain pipe. I did drill a hole in the bottom of each pot to drain water so the plants did not drown in a rain storm.

Indoor Greenhouse

So, yesterday my husband came home again to my "look honey at the project I did today" face! The nice thing is my husband loves growing things as much as I do, so we are good : ) Our strawberries and pineberries that are in 5 gallon buckets are all inside and have been since mid February. They are doing fabulous! They are doing so good we talked about not taking some of them back out once it warms up. We literally have over 30 or 40 strawberry buds blooming from our 6 buckets and 3 or 4 pineberry blooms from 2 buckets.

Garden Border & Kudos Home Depot!

So getting the early spring itch in February can turn out to be helpful and not completely destructive. Destructive as in planting all my plants on the first 70 degree day in February thinking Spring is here and then it hitting low 20's the next week....whoops. I just want spring here so bad! Anyhow the constructiveness that came out of it was my new garden border. I'm a stay at home mom so my husband is at work all day and I take care of our 7 month old. Well, with spring itch in mind I went to home depot by myself dead set on getting the lumber I needed while toting a 7 month old. Hmm... I don't think this plan was thought through. The Home Depot employees were amazing! I had a gentleman help me pull all the lumber I needed and then cut them to the size I required. After I checked out they helped me load them in my 2 door Camry including the 13' long piece which hung out the back of the trunk with a little Home Depot Flag on it! Kudos Home Depot on customer service!

 I used 2"x8" boards of different lengths because my yard is at such a slope I knew I would have to bury a good deal of the board for it to be level. We are on a budget so I knew I wouldn't be able to buy enough to stack them on top of each for a boxed in level look. I painted them with primer included paint because I also was cheap and did not buy the treated wood, but the black paint matches my shutters so well...I would have done it anyhow. So, this was a good way to save a little dough.

Here is my front left garden. I also bought a 4"x4"x8' board and had it cut into 1' sections which I proceeded to add 5 dollar solar LED post caps (from home depot) to each piece. The post caps would not fit on the 4x4 until I used a wood grater and shaved a considerable amount off the top corners and sides of the posts. Yuck. In the future for time sake I might go for a smaller post and use longer screws. Then I dug holes along the border where I desired them and nailed them in place.

Part of my yard ended up being so steep when I started to try and make the border level I realized I would have to put one end of the board completely under ground, that would look horrible! So, I propped one end of the board with bricks that I painted the same color and that way the other end would not be buried out of sight.

 This is the front right side garden
 This is a picture of the solar lamps lit up at night. So Pretty : )
 This is my Blueberry Garden bordered in with the same wood. I can't wait to plant my new TopHat Dwarf Blueberry bushes coming in from Burpee in the next couple of weeks! There is already one EarlyBlue Blueberry bush planted in this garden.
This is my raspberry garden that my husband and I bricked in a couple Saturdays ago. We did not use mortar. We just used a leveling tool and kept the bricks completely level and made sure not to stack them too high. So far its been great and sturdy! We love it! I have 5 Caroline Raspberry plants and 5 Polana Raspberry plants coming from Burpee and 1 Latham Raspberry that I have in a pot inside that will be planted in this garden. There are 2 Raspberries in this garden already from last year. They are the only ones that survived the dog digging in my garden.That's the beauty of a garden.... It's WAR! War against birds, bugs, weather, disease and your own beloved dog. : )

 It is now July 2013 and our raspberries are in producing berries! YUM!
 Here is the strawberry garden beside the house
Above is the blueberry garden : )

Grape Hyacinths Growing Wild

My husband and I found small purple flowers in our yard this spring and they were just so pretty I decided to transplant them next to my Hyacinths and Daffodils. We later went online trying to figure out what they were called. We searched and searched. We tried to Google numerous phrases such as "tiny grassy purple flower" or "small grass like purple bulb flower" and on and on it went. Finally I came across another ladies blog and she said they were Grape Hyacinths also known as Muscari which are members of the Lily Family! I was so excited! Yeah free flowers! Here is one website I found with lots of helpful information on these tiny little flowers, www.gardensablaze.com .
 In the picture below the Blue Hyacinths are in the front, then Daffodils, then the Grape Hyacinths in the back.

4-25-2013 After blooming, the flowers died and fell off and these seed pods took there place! Pretty neat looking! You learn something new everyday : )

Pineberry Blog

  3-17-13 I ordered Pineberries from www.Burpee.com last year and planted them but the only two blooms we got died before ever becoming pineberries! How disappointing I am allergic to pineapple and was really looking forward to trying one just to be able to taste pineapple again! This year I transplanted them from my strawberry garden and placed them in one of my self watering 5 gallon containers and brought it inside back in mid February. Inside I placed them in front of a window that gets a good deal of sun and just today I found my first Pineberry bloom! Yeah! Can't wait to taste my first one! Sure hope I'm not allergic!
  I fertilize them with Miracle Grow All Purpose Fertilizer (20-20-20) every 14 days and so far they seem to do well with that. (PS as of 3-26 I am fertilizing every 5-7 days because the plants are getting more blooms. I will let you know how it goes later)
  I'm beginning to wonder if they didn't get enough sun where I had them planted outside. I also have read though that they do better in a glass house like growing system and if they get too much sun it will cause them to turn a bluish-pink hue instead of the pale white. So we will see how they turn out. Reference : http://strawberryplants.org/2010/09/pineberry-pineberries/

This is my Pineberry bloom on 3/17/13

This is one of my Pineberry plants

This is a picture of what they should turn out looking like when ripe. Below is a link to Burpee's pineberries and their description of them.
Berries are white, ornately speckled with red seeds. The unique pineapple flavor and aroma more than make up for the small, bite-size fruits. Easily could be a kid's favorite mini-berry to pick and snack on.

Update: Today is 3/21/13 and this is two of my pineberry blooms! Looking so Pretty!

 Update: Today is 3/26/13 and this is one of the two pineberry blooms shown in the picture above after it has been hand pollinated. The flower petals have begun to die off leaving just a healthy beginning of a berry in the middle.

 As of today 3-26-13 we also have 3 new pineberry buds making a total of 5 now. Two in this picture and one more in the picture below.

Today is April 19th, 2013 and this is my largest pineberry! Isn't she beautiful?! The seeds are starting to turn a brownish/red color.

This is my Pineberry plant gone wild! They are just eating up the 11 hours a day of light and every 7-14 days of MG All purpose fertilizer.

This is a close up of all the new little buds on my pineberry plants! 4-19-2013

PS the original two pineberry blooms at the very beginning died. I'm unsure why. I have wondered if we damaged it with too many or too harsh hand pollination. We have gone more lax in our hand pollination and have a few deformed berries but some beauties also.

 4-25-13 We got to try our first Pineberry!
Well...it is different for sure. Very tart and I really couldn't find the pineapple flavor. But it was fun and we can say we tried a Pineberry now! Mission Accomplished. Next on the grow edible exotics to do list is "Dragon Fruit."

How to make your own self watering planters

I made some self watering planters also know as SIP or Sub Irrigated Planters from 5 gallon buckets with a 1 gallon milk jug, 8" of PVC  and some strips of cloth. I planted strawberries, pineberries and watermelon in them so far. I also did one in a large storage bin. I made mine and then went online to see how other people might do theirs to find out no one did theirs the same why I did mine. Interesting. Anyhow I still really like my way better...maybe slightly biased. But when we leave for vacation in May I will know how well they really work and will let you know the results! In the meantime here is a how to video I did on making one yourself!

Urban Gardening Playlist