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

Strawberry bed renovation

Renovated strawberry bedWithout deer to nibble them back, our strawberry beds have turned into a sea of three-part leaves.  While the beds look lush and beautiful, the farmer inside me knows that the plants are overcrowded and won't bear well next year.  Time to take drastic action.

Many gardeners mow their strawberry beds to the ground in early summer as soon as they pick the last berries.  Their goal is to stimulate the production of runners so that new plants will form.  My strawberries didn't get this treatment, nor did they seem to need it --- runners formed every which way, growing across the aisles to the next bed over.

Instead of mowing, I finally bit the bullet and ripped out three quarters of the plants, giving the remaining strawberries room to breathe.  I tucked well-rotted manure around their roots, and plan to add a nice load of grass clippings after our next mowing.  Although it would have been smarter to renovate my beds in June, I'm hopeful that there's still enough growing time left for the plants to suck up summer sun and prepare for spring berries.  Hopefully next year, we won't be disappointed by micronutrient deficient berries the way we were this spring.

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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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