Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Strawberries again...

We seemed destined to be thwarted with our strawberries.

We've had a nasty cold spring like you wouldn't believe. Rain was anticipated in the upcoming week, so on Monday we figured we'd dash out, crank up the tractor, and get the strawberry bed filled with dirt.

Specifically we wanted to fill the bed with dirt from the corral, which is a beautiful mixture of churned-up soil and manure from over the winter. This is our dirt of preference when we want a nice rich potting soil - or in this case, soil for the strawberry bed.

So I brought out an armful of newspapers (and anchored them against the wind with the block end) which I planned to lay across the bottom of the bed to keep down weeds.

Meanwhile Don hopped on the tractor and cranked it. And cranked it and cranked it. We thought a snowstorm must be coming (the usual time the tractor decides not to work) because, well, it wouldn't work. He determined the carburetor must be in need of a good cleaning.

So the plans to plant in the bed were thwarted. But I had to get those bare root strawberries planted or they would die. We have several days of heavy rain predicted (as I write this, we've had a very soggy day) and the strawberries wouldn't survive for another week in their dark box.

So I chose an unfertilized section of bare dirt next to the strawberry boat and planted there. It won't be permanent, but it will keep the plants alive until such time as we can nest them in their nice dedicated strawberry bed. Needs must when the devil drives.


  1. Getting ready to start my first strawberry bed of everbearing purchased through our local extension. I have been reading that berries have to be replaced every three years. My grandparents had June bearers in Michigan and I am sure that they did not replace them that often. Can you shed any light on this? Are you going to let them spread or are you going to remove the "babies" and start another area? So much to learn....

  2. Good questions which I can't answer because - grrrr - my strawberries have never even made it to maturity. Every time we try to get our garden fence deer-proof, our tractor dies (necessary for digging deep holes for poles, etc) and then other projects claim our time. So my strawberry ambitions have yet to be realized.

    Jackie Clay, the ultimate homesteading guru who writes for Backwoods Home Magazine, has a superb article on propagating strawberries in the March/April 2011 issue of the magazine ( If you could possibly get hold of a copy, this would probably answer all your strawberry-related questions. Good luck - and wish me luck too!

    - Patrice

  3. Definitely good luck and thanks for the reference!