Archive | April 2013

Planting Bare root Strawberries

Yesterday was probably the best day we’ve had around here all year.  The weather couldn’t have been better and I had a nice long list of garden tasks; what could be better?  It was also the day for the Backyard Abundance plant sale.  Last year I picked up a pack of ever-bearing strawberries and hope that they will start producing this year.  I talk about it in this post from 2012, i case anybody’s interested.  So this year was my chance to move into june-bearing strawberries.  The nice thing about june-bearing varieties is that they set all their fruit at roughly the same time.  This allows one to have a lot of strawberries all at once for making jams, jellys, and other products.  I have the Erligrow variety.  So I decided to do a little how to in case anybody else wants to try their hand at the bare root strawberries.  Enjoy.

The soil for strawberries needs to be fertile and well draining.  Strawberries do not like their feet wet.  My soil here is a combination of compost, topsoil, and peat.  Since strawberries are perennials its imporatant to have really good soil before you start as it is really hard to fix it once the plants are in.  I started by spacing my bareroot plants about 6-8 inches apart.


Next I dug a hole only a couple of inches deep, but about 8 inches wide.  Then I trenched around the outside of the hole.  So I was let with a hill in the middle.IMG_0098

The crown of the plant goes right on the hill.  The crown of the strawberry is the part where the roots meet the leaf buds.  Now I spread the roots around the hole.  Next simply cover the roots and about half of the crown.  Its important not to cover the crown too deeply or else you will end up with rot and disease problems.  IMG_0099

Water the plants well and wait.  Its also good to add mulch to the beds to help conserve moisture and help keep the fruit off the bare soil.  Traditionally straw is used,hence strawberries, but you could use just about any light mulch out there.

OMG Its a video.  Yep, I’m moving into the 4th dimension and adding a video to my blog.  Its my video version of how to plant bare root strawberries.  I would love to know what everyone thinks.  Should I try more videos?  What do you think?

I’ve been busy with other things as well but I think those will wait for another post.  Thanks for reading and I hope that you might try your own hand at strawberries.  Good growing everybody.


Laser what??

Sorry everybody this is a venting post.  Please disregard if uninterested.

In the morning, as I’m eating breakfast and making my lunch I usually have the TV on the morning news. Of course the plethora of local channels causes me to usually stick to one and never deviate. So I usually have KCRG TV-9 news; it’s the local ABC affiliate. Most days I have no problems with it. They read the news and give me pretty accurate weather info (which is what I’m mostly listening for).

But this morning I heard a story on the local news that just got my dander up. They spent two or three minutes talking about a “new” allergy therapy. Championed by Dr Terri Cooper from the Wholistic Wellness Center in Hiawatha, IA this new therapy is laser acupuncture. All the while they talked about this supposed therapy they showed this lady basically having a laser pointer shot at various points on her body. The main claim they made during the pre-recorded piece was that this could treat allergies. But during the actual broadcast, the anchor also added that they use the treatment for chronic illnesses and CANCER. Well that nearly made me spit out my Cheerios. Below I will lay out the problems with this “treatment.”

#1. I don’t want to get into ad hominem arguments, but the lady from the center they had in the story was Dr. Terri Cooper. ” Dr.” Cooper is the owner/director of the wellness center. I say “Dr.” because she is not an M.D. or a Ph.D.  She is a doctor of chiropractic.  Now I understand that they do go to go through a fair bit of schooling to earn that title, but the entire idea of chiropractic is based on false assumptions.  The idea that most (if not all) maladies of the human body could be caused by misalignment of the spine is just ludicrous.

#2. Acupuncture does not work.  Period.   Its been proven to have no benefit.  There are no special meridians or chi lines.

#3.It seems pretty convenient that most of what they treat are conditions that would come and go on their own. hmmm…

I would love to go over some of the other services they provide at this place, but that will have to wait.  I have an e-mail to write.

Earth Day 2013

Earth day has come once again. It is the day we need to be reminded that the earth is not the I breakable spaceship that we treat it as sometimes. Since the weather was good this morning I decided to bike to work and bring a camera along. (Ok it wasn’t an actual camera just the camera on my iPod touch)





The water treatment plant is on the left and a small creek on the right.


The little creek, its got a nice relaxing sound most mornings.


The city recycling place. I drop off my clear glass here cause they don’t pick up clear glass curbside.


Going under the Benton Street Bridge


Now going over the Benton Street Bridge


The Iowa River



Solar cells that the University uses to power their electric vehicles across the river.



The dam across the Iowa River.



The Old Capitol Building





I pass a nice magnolia tree on the hospital campus. The flowers are just starting to open.




Bike parked and waiting for me to go home.

I hope that this might inspire some people to do something to help the planet for at least a day.  Every little bit helps.

Look what I made!!!

So it happened again.  My garden has gotten bigger.  It started with just a couple of 4ftx8ft beds.  That was expanded to “The L,”  it encompasses a total of 6-4ftx8ft beds connected together.  And now I have added another 4 veggie beds and extended the strawberry patch.  The backyard was pretty much full so I had to expand out to the side yard.  I also decided that it would be better to go with actual raised beds this time around.  Why you ask?  Well, that whole area is riddled with cable and phone cords.  Those aren’t buried very deep so I didn’t want to chance hitting one with the tiller.  Always call before you dig.

Strawberry Patch

This was last year’s strawberry patch.


This is the side yard after this weekend. The strawberry patch is extended the entire length of the fence and four raised beds for veggies have been added.

The veggie beds need more compost added.  There is a bag of peat moss in each bed currently so I now just need to fill’em up with dirt and they’ll be ready to go.



What would strawberries be with out rhubarb.  There was about four feet left on the end and I was going back and forth on what to plant there.  I was going between asparagus or rhubarb.  Well clearly rhubarb clearly won out.  I think it goes better with strawberries and will make great jams and pies eventually.

The vegetables that are in the garden are moving along as well.  Next weekend is the Backyard Abundance plant sale and I’m really excited to get more strawberries to put in the new bed.  Good growing everybody.


Anticipation or Apprehension, which is it?

I’ve been going back and forth about what to write today for the last hour or so.  I’ve got so many different felling going on about everything that it’s all a bit confusing.  The problem is my brain is fighting over whether it should be feeling anticipation or apprehension.  I’m excited about the radish seeds just starting to germinate, but worried that the peas haven’t come up yet.  I’m glad that the current plant is budding out new leaves, but the blueberries have not.  I’m excited to see the day lilies, the snowdrops and the other fall bulbs come back up but I see my tons of seedling still under grow lights.  Unfortunately I’ll only know which this feeling ends up being once its too late.  Will my anticipated success be fulfilled or will my apprehension be justified by failure?


Snow drops in bloom



Day Lily, so easy to grow but still good to see them back from the heavy dividing I did last year.


The bee balm plants are really coming back strong.


The currant bush has leaves just starting to bud out.


Just next tot the currant, the thyme plant has started to leaf out as well.

Good growing everybody.



Two full weeks of spring have passed and how many plants did I have in the ground? None. St. Patrick’s Day passed and there was snow on the ground. Easter came and went and still it was too cold. Well today I rolled the dice and decided I was ready to plant and the garden is just going to have to like it. Ok ok, its not that bad. The ground is still a little cooler and wetter than I would prefer, but it should be good enough to plant the cool crops. So…


The onions and broccoli have started their hardening off process. Hardening off is where the indoor transplants go outside in a protected area for a little while everyday. This is important because the little plants have been grown under lights much weaker than the sun for their whole lives. So the leaves are not prepared for the intense light of the sun and will actually get sunburned as you can see happened to some of the leaves after the first day.


Sunburn ouch

But now comes the good part. The soils is ready (or at least as close as its going to get anytime soon). It’s time for the early planting. Yesterday I spent a hour and half or so tilling up the garden beds. Oh yeah I got a mini tiller. I guess I never really put anything up about that. Anyway, I tilled in some more compost and some perlite to help with the drainage.


The bed of planted peas.


Carrots in DIY seed tape in the foreground and beets in DIY seed tape further back

Once they are fully hardened off, the onions and broccoli transplants will go in the ground.  I hope everyone can get something in the ground soon.  Good growing everyone.

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