Reclaiming the Strawberry Bed

Last summer we started a new strawberry bed. As you can see, we grew a lot of grass and weeds along with a few strawberries. 

The bed was started in a brand new place. We laid down sheets of brown paper, the kind painters use to protect windows or floors, and covered it with pine needle mulch, since berries and fruit like acidic soil. 

Some nice, friendly armadillo dug around in the bed, tearing the paper in many places allowing the grass and weeds an avenue to grow. With gardening season keeping us busy, we didn’t weed or tend to the strawberry bed much and it became very overgrown during the course of the summer.

Well, now that spring is upon us again, I found a good sale on strawberries and ordered 25 plants. In the meantime, I explored the strawberry bed and discovered that more of the plants made it through the weeds and winter than I expected. I just needed to uncover them and see how much of the grass and weeds I could remove to reclaim the bed. I pulled back the dead weeds and grass along with a nice layer of oak leaves from the large tree by the house.

 

Then I used a shovel to loosen all of the bare areas and make it easier to pull the grass out. After pulling up as much grass as I could, it rained so I had to wait a few days to get back to it.

I loosened the soil again with my hoe, then started planting my new plants.

I found some blooms on a few of the old plants. Maybe we will have a few berries to eat this summer. 

Now that the new plants are in, I want to mulch the bed again to try to keep the grass and weeds down. 
 

This time, I took thick layers of newspapers and tucked them in all around the plants with an extra thick layer up against the fence. 

 

I covered all of this will another layer of pine needles that I raked up in the yard. It’s nice of these trees to drop another layer of mulch for me each year. This wagon full of pine needles didn’t even make a noticeable dent in the layer of needles under these trees.
 

To try to ward off the armadillos, I have spread around some dog hair from Pearl’s last haircut. Maybe this will convince the them to go root around somewhere else.

It looks much better, doesn’t it? Even though I don’t have the whole bed mulched and finished off yet, it feels good to have this project up an running once again. Who knows, we may even get something to eat out of the deal. This is another possible source of perennial fruit that could add a few more handfuls of food each year to our diet. Besides planting, harvesting and preserving our garden each year, I am trying to establish some perennial sources of food that will stretch our food supply just a little bit farther. I pray we don’t have to depend upon what we can produce, even though it looks like we may have to more and more with each passing day. What do you have growing?

Until next time – Fern

7 thoughts on “Reclaiming the Strawberry Bed

  1. Hi Fern. Love your site! I had the same weed problem. In my area chipmunks and believe it or not wild turkey were eating our berries. I'm still not sure what to do about any of that. I will be replanting our strawberries also shortly (we live in Pennsylvania). Anyway another site said to use white vinegar and water (equal amounts) a couple of days before we plant. It is suppose to help a lot with the weed issue. I will use newspaper and pine needles also. Love how practical you are. God bless. Sharon

  2. Hang in there, Donna, the snow should melt sometime.I don't know of anyone else that starts their peas, carrots or beets indoors. It is just something I have tried and liked. I think it gives them a better start with less competition from the weeds and grass in the garden. We do harden them off, just like the tomatoes. Hope some of this helps. Let us know how your garden grows.Thank you for the nice comment and for reading here.Fern

  3. They are good carts to have around, Fiona. Another one of my low tech tools along with the hoe and rake. We haven't tried armadillo….yet. I haven't had any strawberries to do anything with yet. I will probably make preserves first. It's nice to have mother nature mulch for us, I guess, but the strawberries would be more productive without the competition. Maybe we can do better at keeping them weeded out this year.Fern

  4. Hi Fern & Frank: I love to read your down to earth blog. It is so encouraging to hear of your work ethics & efforts to provide all the home produced food that you can there on your own place. I am a little jealous tho as I have 3 feet of snow on top of my garden yet here in MN. I have some plants started under lights but it will be a while before they can go outside. I had not heard of starting beet, carrot or pea plants indoors before reading about you doing so. Are they difficult to get to survive outside?/spose you harden them off like we do tomatoes here before planting them in the warm sun & wind. Your peas looked gorgeous/I want to try that this spring. thanks for all the ideas you share with your readers. Donna

  5. This post made me smile..you have the same garden cart we do! As to the Armadillo's they are supposed to be good eating! Do you dehydrate your strawberries for winter use? The overgrowth of grass probably helped protect the plants from the winter. My mother covered her strawberry bed with a heavy layer of straw to overwinter the severe weather.

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