Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Strawberry Fields Forever

They're in!

I feel like I have to disclose that I have a full-time job and that I am only able to tend to garden duty when I get home with about two hours of daylight left. Thanks to a headlamp I got from one of my best friends for Christmas, work play hours are extended to until after sunset!

I'm manic over strawberries so here it is, a full bed dedicated just to these red plump beauties.

I scored these 45"x29"x7.5" pine raised beds from Craigslist for $6 a pop and I snapped up some right away.  Supposedly, strawberries don't get along with kale, broccoli, and anyone else from the cabbage family, and they also act funny around tomatoes.  Well, those are what I have in my other bed so these primadonnas are getting their own digs.

They say strawberries are happy when they can root deep so I stacked two beds together which meant I needed a whole lotta dirt to fill the deep bed.  I had some leftover Full Circle garden soil and potting soil that I layered (with the garden soil on top).  Well, that only filled half the bed.  So for the other half, I put some bagged organic soil at the very bottom bought from the big box store ($8 for 3 cu. ft. at Home Depot).  I really would have gone to Full Circle Compost but I also REALLY could not wait to get the strawberries in.  So I emptied some pots I had from last season to add to the mix.  Those, I top layered with Full Circle Compost's Garden Boost Elite to re-energize the soil.  Let's see if there will be any growth differences between each side of the bed!

Strawberries are friends with lettuce and garlic so I scattered some two star lettuce around and seeded some salad mixes around.  I am also learning that garlic is one of the easiest things to grow.  Just chuck a garlic clove a few inches deep, bury it with soil, and one day (not sure when) they will produce more cloves underground and will be ready to harvest when the top (leaves) mature.

I planted six strawberry plants - 1 Sequioa, 4 Ozarks, and an unknown variety that I purchased a week ago from Hungry Mother Organics.  While it is tempting to let these baby strawberries mature, I had to pinch all the flowers today since I need them to produce prolific leaves first.  Cutting off flowers sends a signal to the plant to keep producing leaves instead of trying to produce fruit.  I will let the larger one fruit this season.

I MUST have strawberries this summer!

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