Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Strawberry Bed Makeover

We created a strawberry bed in the west terraced gardens several years ago and it was lovely.
Then it got overgrown and messy.  You couldn't find the strawberries for the weeds.  The momma plants had long died off and the babies were unruly, no longer in their beds but instead wandering on the paths.
Strawberry bed mess.
First Timothy pulled the irrigation lines up and I (Shannon) pulled out the worst of the weeds.  I  assigned Timothy the hunt and dig up job of locating the strawberry plants that still existed.  Yes, there were quite a few in that mess.  The reason Timothy dug them up was that he isn't as sentimental as I tend to be, I would want to save EVERY SINGLE ONE, while Timothy got the best ones he could find and the rest were raked out with the rest of the weeds.  We might still be working on it if it was done my way.

Timothy hunting for viable strawberry plants.

Shannon staying out of the way by pruning the raspberries.
Knowing my tendency to micromanage, I took myself out of Timothy's way by pruning the 3 raspberry beds on the same terrace.  It needed to be done, I could still help T if needed and I was not nagging him about missing a plant that I can spot at a glance from 20 feet while he steps on it.  I believe that the arrangement worked out well for both of us.

Ready for new soil
He accumulated a whole line of plants while turning the bed back into something that resembled, well, a bed.  Timothy measured the width of the bed and used his trusty string and tent stakes to line out the edge of the berm he was going to create with composted soil.  His experience learned at his job as a surveyor sure comes in handy.  Our original bed had three rows in it but we thought to try out a different layout this time.

Putting in the plants on the new berm.
Once Timothy had wheelbarrowed in the berm I got to work.  He brought me the plants from his pile and I put them back into the ground.  These are all the ones he rescued from the old bed.

Almost finished!
We finished off filling the new bed with strawberries growing in another spot in our yard.  You can tell the difference between the two groups as the other strawberries were bigger plants.  Timothy mulched the paths and I planted some daylilies and sedum in the corners.

Timothy finished off the bed with wood chips from my Dad's workshop.  We didn't have straw, the typical mulch used with strawberries so we improvised.  I don't know if this will work as well, but at least there is a mulch and I hope it will keep the strawberries off the ground and the ants away.  All that empty space along the retaining wall is tempting me to fill it....  I think some annuals are called for here.

Blossoms mean potential future strawberries!

We have been blessed with more than six inches of rain in the last week.  There has been no need to water the plants beyond the first couple of days.  Lots of blossoms have begun to appear and all the plants seem to have taken well to their new home.  I hope for strawberries later this June!

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