It's hard to believe that strawberries are coming in ripe already for some of you readers. Not so up here in the North Woods. We don't start harvesting until around the 4th of July.
Even though I'm not doing my usual gardening this year, I've still got our three berry patches to take care of. Out of the three (strawberries, raspberries and blueberries), the strawberry patch with approximately 145-150 plants is the most weed-filled so that's where I'm concentrating my efforts this weekend. We had a heavy downpour last night and the ground is pretty wet . . . but at least this means the weeds are coming out easily. (I'll take all the help I can get.)
Last fall we mulched the strawberries with evergreen boughs for the first time. We usually use old hay or straw but found ourselves short on that mulching material and we had had three or four huge evergreens go down in a wind storm which meant we had a big stack of boughs we were planning on burning. I checked a couple of resources and because strawberries like an acidic soil, evergreen boughs were actually recommended to use as winter mulch. I think those boughs ended up riding a couple of miles around our property by the time we had hauled them out into the field and added them to the burn pile and then hauled them back into the garden to cover the strawberries. (Oh well, we needed that extra exercise loading and unloading the boughs, right?)
How did the boughs work? Good. And not so good. Looks as though they provided the cover needed to keep the plants from freezing and thawing, freezing and thawing, but they did not keep down the weeds as the more dense hay or straw mulch does. If I had my choice, I won't use the boughs again.
We uncovered the patch last Saturday (one week ago) and much to my dismay there were already healthy, green weeds standing tall next to, in and around the plants.
The above picture is pretty much what the whole patch looked like when I started working this morning. Not good.
Here's a shot of part of one double row I've got finished. Although there are some sparse looking spots, as soon as the plants start growing they will fill in those area jiffy-quick. Plus, I think I'll move a couple of those plants on the right that have gotten a little out of line.
Okay, I've rested long enough. I came in for a pit stop and a drink and sat down here at the computer when I shouldn't have. Up and at 'em. Back out here I go.