The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

New strawberry plants

Planting strawberryIt feels almost ungrateful to rip strawberry plants out of the ground mere days after they gave me gallons of fruits, but that's what I was doing last week.  We pull out the oldest plants (a third to half of our beds) at this time of year and put in new beds of rooted runners.  Some of these summer-planted strawberries succumb to the heat, but the ones that make it are hefty enough to bear a good (but not great) crop of fruits the next year.  These are the tastiest berries that I reserve for eating fresh, while the more copious fruits from the two year old Watering transplantsplants are used to make strawberry shortcake, strawberry freezer jam, or strawberry leather.

I've just about gotten used to ripping out happy strawberry plants, but the strawberry demolition this year was even more serious.  I opted to remove all of our latest bearing variety (Jewel) and replace them with a new variety that I hope will taste better (All-Star.)  The mail order strawberries came in a very dormant state, so I hope they're able to deal with the summer garden.

Any angst I felt about pulling out such stalwart garden friends was relieved by the sheer joy the chickens took from picking through the plants in search of rotten berries.  At least someone enjoys those not-so-great Jewel strawberries!

Our chicken waterer simplifies backyard chicken care.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Do you mulch right after planting, or wait until plants are a certain size? How thickly do you apply the straw? I just got 75 plants in the ground today and I want to get the mulch down before I have weeds. It's raining now so I don't have to water them. Good timing!
Comment by Dave V Sun Apr 1 14:47:38 2012

Dave --- When setting out plants like this, I mulch right away, but make sure the mulch won't blow on top of the developing plants. (Depending on what I'm mulching with, that might mean giving the plant several inches of bare ground around it and pulling the mulch in later.) I put the straw down as thick as feels right to keep the weeds away --- generally 1/6 to 1/3 of a bale per garden bed (roughly 20 square feet). If you let the straw sit out for a few weeks beforehand, you use more straw, but can mulch right up against the plants since you don't have to worry about it moving around.

Good luck with your new berries!

Comment by anna Sun Apr 1 18:56:05 2012

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