Friday, January 12, 2018
Just A Quick Peek
In the past week our daytime temperatures have ranged from eleven degrees below zero to today's sixty degree reading. A walk about was absolutely required. The pictured strawberry bed has finished its second year. The new plants were allowed to send out runners. Despite the jumbled mess in the picture, time was spent weeding here while trying to limit the number of new strawberry plants. Our plan is to have two rows of plants separated by a clear area one foot wide down the center. The clear area needs a lot of work. It appears that there will be enough new plants to start another bed.
We have never tried to grow all of the strawberries that we need. It was easier to visit a nearby pick your own business. That option has disappeared so we are considering growing our own. One of the unanswered questions is just how long this planting will remain productive. We have no need for huge berries to display at the fair but we have no interest in processing the tiny fruit that will appear over time. If a second bed is started in the spring, it will have two years to fill in before we would expect a crop. By then we will have had two crops from the existing bed and that might be the time to clear these plants. Watch and try to learn is how we proceed.
This ground was cleared of pasture grass last spring and planted with potatoes. That successful crop was followed with intensive soil improvement. Weeds and stones were removed. Lime, manure, sand and compost were worked into the soil. Garlic was planted in October then covered with a thin layer of finely shredded leaves. Strong winds removed much of that mulch so the wire fence sections were placed to try to hold what remained in place. That wire could have been removed today since snow will likely return soon. The wire needs to be gone before the garlic emerges early in the growing year. The small stones at the edge of the bed carry the name of the garlic variety planted in that location.
Few people would get excited by this dull brown patch of ground but I am thrilled with its appearance now. This bed remained fallow last year. Some time was spent removing weeds before they had a chance to set seed. Last fall this ground was cleared and also amended with lime, manure, sand and compost. Then the shredded leaves were thickly placed hoping to smother any remaining weeds. No weeds can be seen here now and that is great news. This coming spring, the leaves that remain will be raked aside and the soil turned to mix in the expected thin black layer of rotted leaves. Then this ground will become home for our onion plants. Our hope is that this soil will remain relatively weed free as the onions grow. We expect to spend some time removing weeds but hope that the weeds will be few in number since weeding onions always breaks some of their leaves. What an unexpected pleasure to be out to closely inspect the garden soil in mid January!