Posts Tagged ‘strawberries’

June Garden Panorama

I have had panorama photos that turned out much better than this one, but it gets the idea across. Things are starting to get a bit unruly down there. Weeding needs lots of attention soon. It’s time to harvest beets and their greens. Soon I will harvest the carrots, followed by the cabbages and then the garlic. By that time I will be getting many red tomatoes.

I still need to plant the green beans I promised my wife.

Garden Overview, Early May 2012

Garden overview in Early May

Okra, Brussels Sprouts, Sweet Potatoes, Garlic, Cabbage, Strawberries, Beets, Carrots, Peas, Potatoes, Squash, Watermelons, Zucchini.

I need to plant cucumbers where those peas are, but I’m giving them ONE MORE week before they are evicted.

Jimmy Watering the Garden

Almost everything has been planted now.  I just have green beans and cucumbers left to direct-seed.  Also, I’m trying a little chin beard, but I’m undecided on it.  I think I’m going to let it get a bit longer and see how it looks then.

First Strawberries of 2012

I finally collected enough red strawberries to make a quick shortcake for dessert tonight.  I had hoped to have far more strawberry plants by 2012, but the dry weather last year killed many of them.

At any rate, it was a delicious treat, because we only eat fresh strawberries in season.  That’s white sugar on top of the berries.  I’m a confessed sugar addict.

Strawberry Plant

I took a set of photos in my garden this morning with my “real” camera…as opposed to cell phone photography. It takes a few extra minutes, but the results are so much better!

This is a close-up of a strawberry plant that seems to be doing a great job recovering from an easy winter under a bed of chopped leaves.

2012 Strawberry Propagation

As I cleaned the winter cover off last year’s strawberry patch–raised beds whose soil had dried as hard as a rock through August’s heat wave–I found many unrooted runners. The mother plant had long enough roots underground to find water, but the baked soil was too much for the baby plant roots to penetrate.

They survived this easy winter while the vine connecting them to the parent strawberry died, so they needed to go into dirt, and soon. Instead of directly planting them in the garden, I’m going to baby them along in these 2 cup containers for a while. In a few more weeks, I’ll be able to see the havoc that the dry soil played on the strawberry patches and fill in empty spots where necessary.

Spring Garden Planning – on Paper – 2011

When I originally built my first set of garden beds in 2008, I had a brilliant idea. Every web site and book I could find was telling me that I wanted my garden beds to be 4 feet wide, for the convenience of reaching the crops easily and the benefit of never having to set foot into my soil. I promptly built each bed 6 feet wide because I knew better and I’ve been kicking myself for my arrogance ever since. I figured that 50% more growing area per bed plus much less wood needed would save me a ton of money by using a 6×8 foot layout. Well, it’s just been a pain in the ass.

This first drawing illustrates this year’s idea to help take advantage of these oddly-wide square foot garden beds. I plan to build a two-foot-wide middle section that has a trellis on each of these beds. I’ll grow climbing crops up the trellis in the middle and use the two-foot section on each side for crops with shorter growth habits.

So with this idea in mind, I got out my handy-dandy graph paper and planned out my 2011 garden. You can click the image to enlarge the photo. Each of the 5 beds I have numbered 2 through 6 will be getting a trellis topper with it’s own double-raised bed section (6 inches higher) beneath.

I have rotated every crop to an area of the garden that it hasn’t been grown for at least a year. Ideally I would use a 4 or 5 year rotation, but that isn’t possible in this amount of space unless I grow less tomatoes.

Because I have 12 growing beds, I plan to have several beds entirely dedicated to single crops, including sweet potatoes, potatoes, beans and tomatoes.

I also have planned some succession sowing with early spring crops, spring crops and fall crops. Carrots will follow the radishes and lettuce, Beets will follow Kale, and the green bean bed will be planted multiple times.

I found a place online where I could download a nice spreadsheet to help me with my seed-sowing dates. I entered my (average) last spring frost date into the spreadsheet, and it adjusted itself to display a range of dates where I should probably start my indoor seeds for best success in my garden. I moved these recommendations to the calendar on my computer and printed out a copy for easy reference. I have two trays of seeds started so far. Pictures coming at a later date!

The boys have been big helpers with the seed starting. They get a little bit of cabin fever when they are snowed in.

June 1st Garden Panorama – 2010

June 1st 2010 Garden Panorama

Click the picture for an insanely bigger version.

If you look closely enough you can see a few of the “stitching” mistakes.  Oh well, you get the idea.

Strawberry bed plan – long term

I have been reading that Strawberry production declines after a few years and that there is some maintenance that can keep a patch of berries going longer.  I have come up with a long term plan that could keep my 6 ft x 8 ft bed of strawberries going for quite a while.  It’s completely untested, but give me a few years and I’ll let you know how it’s going.

  1. Spring 2009- I planted half the bed with strawberries (4 x 6) and half the bed with peppers.
  2. Spring 2010 – I realized that strawberry runners had increased the size of the patch, under cover of pepper plants, to 6 x 6 ft.  I added a few new bareroot strawberries to fill in the rest.
  3. Summer 2010 – After production slows down and stops I will just mow the strawberries off (probably by hand with hedge clippers) about 1 inch above the crowns, weed the bed well, and let them grow.
  4. Summer 2011 – When this year’s crop stops producing, and after I mow the foliage, I’m going to till up and destroy two-thirds of the plants, in two long 2 x 8 foot sections, leaving only the middle 2 x 8 foot row.  I will add lots of compost to the tilled area.  Throughout the rest of the summer and fall I will let the plants in the middle of the bed send out runners and grow me all new plants in the tilled area.
  5. Summer 2012 – Let the bed crop, mow the leaves off, and then till in the center third of the bed that had been planted since 2009.  Add lots of compost to the tilled area. Runners will quickly fill the area back in.
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 on alternating years.

Does that sound like it will work?  I’ll constantly be destroying the oldest plants and growing new ones.

Great Green Garden Gab

Baby Broccoli Bed

Optimistic Onions

Cheerful Cabbage

Proud Purple Primero

Strawberries Stretching Sunward

Barraged with Baby Broccoli!

Cherry Changing

Cardinal in the Creek

Cluttered Corner

Lovely Layout

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