Monday, April 27, 2020

Working in the Strawberries

This past Saturday and Sunday were the nicest days we've had so far this spring.  Lots of sunshine and temps that must have been in the 50s in the sun even though our thermometer (in the shade) registered only the mid-40s.

This lovely weekend, I had a goal of removing the winter mulch from the strawberry rows, getting the plants cleaned up and pathways weeded, and the "aisles" covered again with mulch.  Didn't quite make it, but gave it a good try and felt I got the majority of it taken care of.

In the above picture, the mulch is removed for the most part with just that section down on the left to do.  That was as far as I got on Saturday.

Finished the mulch removal on Sunday and found many more weeds happily having set roots and growing than I would have liked, but the strawberry plants look pretty good.  I think we lost only two over winter.

There are three rows and the one on the left (that looks as though it might win "the least likely to succeed" award) is the row I planted just last year after removing a variety I wasn't happy with.  The plants are much smaller than the other two rows of older plants but, with luck, will catch up to the "big guys" before the summer is over.

We got a nice, gentle rain for the first half of this day (Monday) which is what the ground needed.  I just went out to take a picture of the weeding I accomplished yesterday.

I got the pathways either side of the middle row done, but have yet to work on the outer sides of the first and third rows.  The row on the right butts up to the field garden and isn't bad, but the one on the left side of the newest plants is next to sod and that darn sod tries its best to creep into the strawberry bed every time I turn my back on it.

Looks like it will be until Wednesday before things dry out enough for me to finish the job as the forecast for tomorrow is foggy and cloudy.  By then, maybe my hands, wrists, elbows, knees, hips, back and earlobes will be recovered enough.  The first couple weeks working in the garden never fail to show there are many muscles that have had too much rest over winter.



The Happy Whisk said...

Very nice that you have strawberries. Here's to growing season!

tpals said...

That's a lot of work done! I'll admit I'm still ok with my small raised strawberry bed; I always hated weeding ground level patches.

We're expecting rain tonight so tomorrow might be spent baking instead of weeding and planting.

Cockeyed Jo said...

I have the best luck with my strawberries planting them in gutters. It keeps my free ranging chickens out of them. Plus the weeds are minimal.

Mama Pea said...

The Happy Whisk - Strawberries are one crop that grow well in our northern climate. There are even an abundant (some years) crop of wild strawberries available for the picking although the size of them is teeny-tiny and it takes a long time to pick even a cupful. I grow domesticated ones in my garden because it's my husband's favorite berry, we eat tons of them fresh, I make jam, fruit leather and freeze smooshed ones for smoothies throughout the year. Yay, strawberries!

tpals - Ha, I'm beginning to wonder if anything doesn't involve a lot of work! ;o) I can understand your raised bed of strawberries. Friends of our grow theirs in an old rowboat filled with dirt! We're all different and I've never minded weeding on ground level . . . on my hands and knees. Papa Pea thinks I'm nuts as he would always choose a hoe for weeding. But we have quack grass with roots that skitter parallel for feet in all directions and dandelions that have roots a foot (not quite) long. I don't feel you can begin to eradicate them with a hoe. Hope you have a great baking day!

Cockeyed Jo - Our poultry is free-ranging, but contained in their large pasture. If they were allowed into our gardening areas, I'd have a lot of free time in the summer and very little food! But I totally understand that there are many ways in which to grow strawberries and you've found a good one for you.

Susan said...

I miss my strawberries, although I never got as many as the chipmunks did. However, I do not miss the weeding! It's so nice to get out and muck about in the dirt, isn't it? Remind me I said that after I get done battling the weeds that apparently thrive in winter out of my raised beds. xo

Mama Pea said...

Susan - Well, we do have chipmunks, but happily I can say that I never find more half-eaten berries (with chipmunk tooth marks) than a few each year. Otherwise, our hav-a-heart traps would be working full time. I'm not a generous soul who grows those luscious berries as chipmunk food!

wisps of words said...

Even before you mentioned all-that-bending-etc. I was thinking of it. Yikes!!!!! The work it took, to do all that!!!!

And what about protection from birds? Can you protect them, and yet, be able to get in there yourself, to weed???? Hmmmmm, maybe not....

Hope you had some liniment handy. Or some help cream. To apply to aching parts.

Let healthy go back to work...
Compromised people,
Still stay home.

Mama Pea said...

wisps of words - I should only whisper this so as not to jinx myself, but we have very little bird damage in the strawberries. (Shhhhh . . .) One year we had to cover the blueberry bushes (whadda job) because the robins discovered them, but only that one year when we seemed to have a huge influx of hungry robin red breasts.

Papa Pea and I have great faith in homeopathic remedies and use them regularly. A dose or two of arnica pellets for any muscle strains helps immensely for us so that's what we use. We also have an ointment with arnica in it that can be rubbed into especially sore spots.

It's very damp and foggy here today so I'm disappointed I won't be going back out there to finish the job. I will feel so good when those strawberry plants are ready for the season! said...

Your strawberry plants look great. What a job you did. You must be really sore after that work out. I really don't know how you do it! WOW What wonderful reward you'll have when you harvest them and make your pies and smoothies! I give you a lot of credit. I also give Susan credit too for pulling her big girl on and go out and work in her garden. She has a full time job also. You take care and stay healthy and safe! xo

Mama Pea said...

linnellnickerson - Thanks for the props but I truly enjoy working in our garden and although the strawberry plants are a little on the intensive side (!) at the first of the season, pound for pound they usually give an abundant harvest. I can hardly wait to have fresh sliced strawberries in cream (how yummy is that?) for breakfast during the season! Susan grows a productive garden each year and I don't know how she does half of what she accomplishes!

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