It’s funny how the novel soon becomes routine. We are now 10 weeks into lockdown and it's hard to imagine a time when my husband went to an office, we saw friends in person rather than via a screen and the car was something other than an expensive piece of metal on the driveway. I have calculated that I have driven 10 miles in the last 10 weeks, although I used to do around 20 per day. I now wonder where I could possibly have been going!
Like so many in this ‘new normal’, my husband James and I have settled into a routine of animal care, gardening and baking (ingredient availability permitting). Board games have been dusted off, and chores that have languished at the bottom of the to-do list for years have almost made it to the top.
We have also been able to put more hours into the smallholding than we had ever hoped. With the house extension going slowly due to limited availability of building materials, and with no social activities at all, not to mention fabulous weather, we have spent hours outside, and the vegetable patch has never been so weed free.
With this renewed focus on the garden, we decided upon a little wager. I have always had a competitive streak, and luckily for me I married someone who does as well. We therefore decided that it was time for a rematch in the Strawberry Stakes.
I have long believed that strawberries are best grown outside in the UK. Although you get your crop later, I think that they grow larger and have a better flavour. Plus, if there’s a wet spring, you don’t even have to worry about watering them. James takes a more scientific approach, and likes to grow his strawberries in the greenhouse, where he can control water and growing conditions more carefully.
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