Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Strawberries...nectar of the Gods!

After I married and started my own garden on the farm, the first thing I mooched from my dad were some of his extra strawberry plants. He had two kinds, Tristars and June berries. I chose the Tristars because they produce early in the spring, rest and produce again in early fall.  Where I live in Saskatchewan, our soil is mostly clay and strawberries do better in sandy soil. After researching strawberries in various books from the library, I found out that if one adds pine needles to the soil, the strawberries do exceptionally well. My uncle let me pick up a couple of well packed garbage bags of pine needles and cones.  Next, I bought two large bales of peat moss and finally, several bags of sheep manure at the lumberyard. My husband took out the garden tractor and rototilled the garden area twice. We waited about a week for the weed seeds to sprout and then rototilled the ground one more time. Now it was time to add the pine needles, sheep manure and peat moss. Once again, my husband rototilled my new ten foot by ten foot strawberry patch. I thought for sure that I had put way too many pine needles into the plot but I continued as the book from the library had said not to be stingy. First, I dug with my hands holes for my new plants about 3 inches in diameter and three inches deep. I filled the holes with water and let the water seep into the ground. Next I took my strawberry plants and spread the roots in the hole a bit. The crowns were level with the surface of the soil and when the hole was filled with soil, I was careful not to bury the crown of the plant as the plant would probably rot.  The soil was pressed firmly around the plant and watered  in. The plants were transplanted in rows about 10 inches apart to give the plant runners lots of space to start new plants. The newly transplanted plants were then watered slowly with a sprinkler to settle the ground. Any flowers were picked off to let the plant have enough energy to settle into their new home and transplant successfully. Strawberries love lots of sun and I placed my new plot away from trees and in full sun. There is still a lot more to learn about strawberries, stay tuned for the next installment about this yummy little berry!

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