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The Urban Gardener: Strawberries and Chives for All

Saturday, May 31, 2014

 

Urban gardeners face challenges. We migrate to community gardens for toxin free food. We seek islands of peace amid the background din of fire trucks and ambulances. Our world as gardeners is a testament to the human spirit and the power of generative love. We wish to grow our own in every respect. It helps a lot that many favorite plants are here for our journey. There is no requirement for the unique. Rather, the tried and true have paid their dues and deserve a favored role in our gardens. Let’s talk about some favorites that thrive for me and will for you too.

Chives are perennials of the allium or onion family. Their diminutive height earns them a place at the edge of any planting space. Late in spring they send lovely humble blooms just about a foot tall. Each bloom is heather toned purple. Chives punctuate the garden in clumps. Savvy gardeners quickly understand this is a plant that grows family style, there’s always many individual plants closely intertwined. Culinary gardeners desire chives for their assertive stand-alone flavor.

Grown in rich soil, chives do best in sunshine. I harvest mine with a pair of scissors. They tolerate close harvest with vigor. Stimulate chives by cutting near the mulch line. Increase your planting by lift and dividing. Unfamiliar with this wide spread horticultural technique? Simply divide a full clump of chives with a shovel or trowel. No, don’t pull apart the closely related family. Do divide a full clump into halves or quarters, then dig around and under to move. “Lift and divide”. This propagation technique is basic to gardening and applies to many other types of plants. Always replant as soon as possible into the richest soil available at the same depth as the mother clump.

Fragrance is always desirable and chives are pungent. They are perfect for children to handle. Once associated with a scent, memory clings to the plant and an impressionable mind. Chives are tough and endure a lot of hardship with aplomb. Their bright green clumps are easy to keep weed free. Alliums in general make for good companion plants. A companion plant helps along other plants creating growth greater than the sum of its parts. Chives have no predators and add zest to egg dishes. Here is a garden stalwart.

Who can resist the strawberry’s charms? Strip away artificial flavors. Instead savor the subtle charms of the simple strawberry. Strawberries are champions of the garden. They prefer well drained loams in as much sunlight as possible. There are many ways to foster this rampant immigrant from the wild. Mature strawberry plants, the “mother”, send out runners in every direction. Strawberries truly love straw or hay mulches. They soon overcome the straw mulch with dense attractive foliage. Late in spring they are covered with wholesome white flowers that soon transform into delectable berries. A famous debate surrounds its classification as a fruit or vegetable as their seeds are external to the berry. Despite this controversy, enjoy the red strawberry fresh from the plant.

Strawberries adapt themselves well to containers. The classic strawberry pot has many small openings to tuck the new plants. Variations on this theme abound. This is a favored plant for those who enjoy serendipity in the garden. Strawberries spread and soon colonize improbable places. Personally I love to see them explore and expand into their surroundings. You’ll enjoy fostering a colony into a nation as strawberries spill over into over and around friendly regions.

Many plants promote friendship. Chives and strawberries are ideal icebreakers. They are always an appropriate gift for friends and family. Both preserve well: chives snipped into small segments freeze well. Strawberries serve a plethora of roles. Gardeners have the best position to appreciate this garden treasure: pick and eat right on the spot. Urban gardeners will prosper with these uncommonly good plants. Grow some for yourself and share with others.

 

Related Slideshow: Spring and Summer Music Festivals

Prev Next

Boston Calling Music Festival

Website

May 23-25

City Hall Plaza

Boston, MA

Boston Calling Music Festival is a three-day, two-stage festival featuring some of the biggest and best acts in live music. The event will be one big party with easy access to both stages, food, services and more. All ages are welcome and children under 10 are free.

Lineup Features:

Jack Johnson

Modest Mouse

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

The Decembrists

Bastille

Death Cab for Cutie

Tegan & Sara

Brand New

The Neighborhood

Built to Spill

Magic Man

Maximo Park

Walk Off The Earth

The Districts

Warpaint

Kurt Vile and the Violators

Jenny Lewis

Plus More...

Prev Next

Strange Creek Campout

Website

May 23-26

Camp Kee-Wanee

Greenfield, MA

Presented by the Wormtown Trading Company, the Strange Creek Campout features live music, on-site camping, disc golf, yoga, a holistic village, and the Strangers Helping Strangers Food Drive.

Lineup Features:

Rusted Root

Max Creek (2 Shows)

Zach Deputy (2 Shows)

Donna the Buffalo

Ryan Montbleau

Turkuaz

Goosepimp

Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band

Fungus Amungus

Consider the Source

Plus more…

Prev Next

Roots on the River

Website

June 5-8

Bellows Falls, VT

Roots on the River is an annual roots music festival featuring 23 sets, 7 shows, 6 venues over 4 days.

Lineup Features:

James McMurtry

Curtis McMurtry

Mary Gauthier

Carolyn Wonderland

JD McPherson

Sean Rowe

Poor Old Shine

Heather Maloney Band

Caitlyn Canty

Hayley Reardon

The Meadows Brothers

Prev Next

Leominster Starburst Festival

Website

June 14 (Rain Date June 15)

Various Locations

Leominster, MA

For a free music festival in Central Massachusetts, check out Leominster’s Starburst, hosted by the Leominster Cultural Council. Everyone in your family will enjoy this day of music and fun, topped off with a firework show in the evening.

Prev Next

Paulie's New Orleans Jazz & Blues Festival 

Website

June 20-22

Canal District

Worcester, MA

Now entering its seventh year, the mission of Paulie's New Orleans Jazz & Blues Festival is to provide quality New Orleans & Louisiana jazz, blues, country, funk & zydeco music & food within an urban setting.

Lineup Features:

Roomful of Blues

Honey Island Swamp Band

Marcia Ball

Little Freddie King

Mem Shannon & The Membership

Bobby Patlauf Band

Big Al Carson & The Blues Masters

Eric Lindell & The Sunliners

Plus more…

Prev Next

New Bedford Folk Festival

Website

July 5-6

New Bedford Whaling National Park

New Bedford, MA

The New Bedford Folk Festival brings together over 70 renowned and emerging folk performers and 90 juried arts and crafts vendors in New Bedford's authentic historic district during the first weekend in July.

Lineup Features:

Chris Smither

Christine Lavin with Don White

John Gorka

Poor Old Shine

Jonathan Edwards

RUNA

Vance Gilbert

Bill Harley

Prev Next

Green River Festival

Website

July 12-13

Greenfield Community College

Greenfield, MA

The Green River Festival is a premier Pioneer Valley Music event that takes place every July. The event attracts national talent, the great local food and fine crafts, and even hot air balloons.

Lineup Features:

Puss'N'Boots Featuring Norah Jones

Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue

Hurray for the Riff Raff

Trampled by Turtles

Lucius

Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin & The Guilty Ones

The Lone Bellow

Ana Tijoux

James Hunter Six

The Iguanas

Poor Old Shine

Barnstar!

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band

Plus More...

Prev Next

North Atlantic Blues Festival

Website

July 12-13

Public Landing

Rockland, ME

The North Atlantic Blues Festival is an annual two-day blues music festival featuring national blues performers and considered one of the most prestigious on the East Coast.

Lineup Features:

Mr. Sipp

Joe Louis Walker

Jarkeus Singleton

Teeny Tucker

Joanna Connor

Victor Wainwright

Melvin Taylor

C.J. Chener

Jimmy Thackery

In Layman Terms

The Mannish Boys

The Golden State lone Star Review

Prev Next

Lowell Folk Festival

Website

July 25-27

Various Locations

Lowell, MA

One of the largest free folk festivals in the country, the Lowell Folk Festival attracts thousands of people over three days. The event features traditional music, food, crafts and good vibes.

The Pine Leaf Boys – Cajun

Bud Hundenski & the Corsairs – Polka

James Kelly, Donna Long, & Sean Keane – Irish

Kevin Doyle – Irish Step Dance

Marquise Knox – Blues

Seichi Tanaka & the San Francisco Taiko Dojo – Taiko Dojo Drums

Nikki D & the Browns – Sacred Steel Gospel

Sonny Burgess & the Legendary Pacers – Rockabilly

Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers – Bluegrass

Samba Mapangala & Orchestre Virunga – East African Rumba

E.U. – Go Go

Hassan Hakmoun – Moroccan Gnawa

Seizmos Band – Greek

Thomas Maupin, Daniel Rothwell, & Overall Creek with Kory Posey – Appalchian Buck

Plus More...

Prev Next

Gathering of the Vibes

Website

July 31 - August 3

Seaside Park

Bridgeport, CT

Gathering of the Vibes is an annual music, arts and camping festival now in its 19th year. Vibes has grown into a four-day festival that has featured such world-class talent as Crosby, Stills and Nash; all original members of the Grateful Dead; the Allman Brothers Band; Jane's Addiction; James Brown; the Black Crowes; Buddy Guy; Elvis Costello; George Clinton and P-Funk; Bruce Hornsby; Les Claypool; and many, many more big names, while continuing to showcase extraordinarily talented, young, up-and-coming bands to the 20 thousand people who attend each year.

 

Lineup Features:

John Fogerty

Rodrigo y Gabriela

Rusted Root

Widespread Panic

Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros

moe.

Slightly Stoopid

Maceo Parker

Deep Banana Blackout

Plus more…

Prev Next

Newport Folk Festival

Website

July 25- 27

Fort Adams State Park

Newport, RI

Folk music has been a presence in Newport since 1959, when the Newport Folk Festival was founded by George Wein. Backed by board members Pete Seeger, Theodore Bikel, Oscar Brand, and Albert Grossman, the Festival became renowned for introducing a number of performers who went on to become major stars, most notably Joan Baez (who appeared as an unannounced guest of Bob Gibson in 1959), and Bob Dylan, whose first Newport appearance, as a guest of Joan Baez in 1963, is generally regarded as his premiere national performance.

Lineup Features:

Deer Tick

Ryan Adams

Nickel Creek

Rodrigo y Gabriela

Jimmy Cliff

Mavis Staples

Band of Horses

Jeff Tweedy

Kurt Vile and the Violators

Conor Oberst

Sun Kill Moon

The Devil Makes Three

Puss N Boots

Plus more...

Prev Next

Newport Jazz Festival

Website

August 1-3

Fort Adams State Park

Newport, RI


Established in 1954, the Newport Jazz Festival begins its 60th year this August, one week after its sister event, the Newport Folk Festival, takes place. The first event was originally billed as "First Annual American Jazz Festival" and featured many notable jazz musicians, including Billie Holiday.
 

Lineup Features:

Bobby McFerrin

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis

Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue

David Sanborn & Joey DeFrancesco

George Wein & Newport All-Stars

Dee Dee Bridgewater - To Billie With Love

Dave Holland

Dr. John

Gregory Porter

Gary Burton

Robert Glasper

Vijay Iyer

SFJAZZ Collective

Danilo Pérez

Ravi Coltrane

Plus more...

Prev Next

Peacham Acoustic Music Festival

Website

August 15-16

Various Locations

Peacham, VT

The Peacham Acoustic Music Festival is also a blend of the old and the new - roots music from the Celtic traditions, old time fiddle tunes, and a touch of blues and bluegrass - not to mention The Dance. Smoke and alcohol free.

Lineup Features:

Jonathan Edwards

Bob Amos & Catamount Crossing

Carl Jones

Alan Greenleaf & The Doctor

The Bayley-Hazen Boys

Plus many more to be announced…

Prev Next

The White Mountain Boogie & Blues Festival

Website

August 15-17

Sugar Shack Campground

Thornton, NH

Entering it's 18th year, the Boogie and Blues Festival features award-winning blues artists, food vendors, craft vendors, a climbing wall, and many fun activities for children --including Saturday night fireworks.

Lineup Features:

Brandon Santini

Moreland & Arbuckle

Southern Hospitality

Samantha Fish

Jeremiah Johnson

Gracie Curran

Plus many more to be announced…

Prev Next

Rhythm&Roots Festival

Website

August 29-31

Ninigret Park

Charlestown, RI

The 17th Annual Rythym&Roots Festival features award-winning roots music artists on the Main Stage and at two big tented dance floors, plus intimate one-of-a-kind workshops and kids activities.

Featuring The Duhks as the featured host band

2014 Artist Lineup Announcements Coming Soon

 
 

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