Wednesday, March 14, 2007

No Strawberries This Year

One strawberry bed done and one to go.

I seriously doubt that we get any strawberries into the freezer this year -- not unless we buy some berries from a roadside produce vendor. After several years of good production, very few of our strawberry plants made it through last summer. I don't know if it was something we did or didn't do, the extreme dryness of last summer or if it was just the plants time to go into decline -- that happens with strawberries -- but it was time to start over with some new berry plants this year.

Jo ordered the new plants and was expecting to hear something regarding their shipping date. Instead, Federal Express delivered them Tuesday. The new arrivals needed to be planted in the garden ASAP, but of course, we had not done any of the necessary bed preparation yet. The strawberry beds were full of weeds. Time to start revising our daily agenda.

Jo began working on the beds, turning the soil over with a spading fork. She looked as if she was enjoying herself so much that I just couldn't resist joining in the fun. We eventually worked out a system where I turned over the soil and she broke up the soil and removed the weeds. Later, Jo went back and raked down the beds.

Turning over those beds should have been relatively easy. The soil has been mulched and amended enough that it's fairly loose -- as compared to the rest of our soil, anyway -- and we removed the rocks when we originally build the beds. However, a nearby sweet gum tree had found the nutrient rich soil of the strawberry beds to be an excellent location for sending its roots. Everyone knows that trees and gardens really don't mix, but having a couple of trees around the perimeter adds to our enjoyment of the garden, so they will stay, although the fate of that sweet gum was debatable while I was fighting with its roots.

We got both strawberry beds turned and raked down. Wednesday Jo will haul a little manure and plant the new strawberries. We may get a few berries this year, but it will be next year before they really start producing fruit.

The worst thing about the whole project was that even after all that time and work, I didn't get to check an item off my "To Do" list. Dealing with the strawberry beds hadn't even been added to my list yet. Oh, well. It's done.