HELEN LANG: This year’s strawberries delicious but expensive

Sidney summer market on Thursday night was lovely, says garden columnist

Finally, the sun has come out and it is a beautiful summer’s day.

I have been out and applied an abundant supply of water and in some cases fertilized water to plants on the balcony, who have been waiting for just such a day. Long may it last.

I don’t mind trekking back and forth carrying two litre milk jugs of water at least once a day (in the morning is best) to keep them all happy. The flowers seem to be doing well, sweet peas are in bloom, as are the geraniums, petunias, alyssum and pole beans. I have just gone out and re-pollinated the latter with my trusty make-up brush. I’m just trying to make sure I didn’t miss any blooms when I did it last week – do love those fresh beans.

I haven’t mentioned Cher’s gift of freshly dug new potatoes, which were a real treat, bless her generous heart. I generally use margarine for most things, but when it comes to new potatoes it just has to be butter and lots of it. (Leave the dieting until some time during the winter.)

Lovely to think that, from now on, we should be able to buy fresh locally grown fruit and vegetables. I picked up my first taste of local strawberries late last week. They were delicious, but will be even better now that there is some sun. I swear it makes them much sweeter.

They are considerably more expensive this year – $5 for one of those small baskets, but surely once a year we deserve a treat. Toward the end of the season they will likely be cheap enough to make jam.

My daughter and I went to the Sidney street market last Thursday early evening, hoping for local berries and vegetables, but couldn’t find any, which was a disappointment. It was lovely to see the crowds of people on Beacon Avenue shopping, or just eating food from a street vendor, or listening to the music (which was a joy and gave a festive air to the early evening).

Next Thursday we’ll be there for sure. It was fun.

Helen Lang has been the Peninsula News Review’s garden columnist for more than 25 years.