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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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RHUBARB!! 🙂

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.

 

Waste not, want not- DIY Seed Tape

I love to plant seeds, water, fertilize and I even don’t mind weeding that much.  But there is one garden task that I hate, thinning.  I hate to have to thin out my seedlings.  It feels like such a waste.  Why did I plant a whole row of these seeds only to pull up every other plant (sometimes more)?  The result, plants not having enough space.  Last year was the year I first really say the consequences of my thinning phobia.  My carrots were small and many had long tap roots, some of the lower leaves on lettuce plants ended up rotting because of lack air flow, and some of the radishes were too small to be useful.  One might ask, “Well why don’t you just plant fewer seeds?”  Have you ever planted carrot or lettuce seeds?  They are teeny tiny little things.  Trying to plant single lettuce seeds is like trying to count dimes with oven mitts on.  Solution time…

When I was younger my mother usually some of her vegetables as seed tape.  These long strips of paper were embedded with seeds at the appropriate intervals.  She would always buy her’s premade and simply plant the long stands in the ground.  So I decided that this was the perfect answer to my problem.  As with most thing I wanted to do it myself though.  Most seed tapes are only made by the bigger companies (Burpee, etc) and I wanted to use the heirloom veggie seeds I already had.  So after a bit of research I concocted my plan.

(Note:  I’ve seen a lot of different ways people do this, but this is how I did mine with the supplies I had on hand)

First I cut a bunch of newspaper into 1-2 inch strips. I also mixed 1/4 of flour and enough water to form a thin paste and grab your seeds.

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Then dab a small amount of the flour paste onto the newspaper strips at the regular intervals (a small paintbrush is perfect for this job).  For these carrot seeds I spaced them two inches.  Add two or three seeds per glue spot.DSCF2262[1]

Then simply label and allow to dry for a couple of hours to overnight.  DSCF2263[1]

Then plant the whole thing in the ground when you are ready.  The newspaper will dissolve away pretty quickly once buried.  I will also be doing this for my radishes, beets, and lettuce.  You don’t have to use newspaper either.  I seen people using toilet tissue and paper towels.  I’ve also seen people using the good old, white Elmer’s glue, but I liked the idea of the flour paste.  I will still have to do some thinning out but hopefully this will allow me to have well spaced vegetables this year.  Thanks for reading and good growing everybody.

 

First weekend of March- the month of bread

March is here and its in like a lion. Its hovered around freezing and we’ve got 3-4 inches of snow on the ground. Inside the baking kept the house pretty toasty all day. The English muffin bread I made last week was a hit so I made two more loaves of that today. I also made some basic sandwich bread for anything else.

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English Muffin Bread. One loaf to use this week and the other is bagged up to freeze for next week.

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Sandwich bread-before baking

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Sandwich Bread- golden brown and delicious

Some more of the seeds have started to sprout as well.  The ground cherry and catnip seedlings have sprouted.

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Ground Cherry seedlings

The ground cherry seedlings look just like tomatoes.  They are just much smaller.

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Little catnip seedlings

All the other plants are doing well and continue to get bigger.  I really wanted to plant the tomatoes this weekend, but I still need to wait at least another two weeks.

I hope this cold and snowy weather passes soon and it can really start feeling like spring around here.  Good growing everybody.

One Month of Homemade Bread-March 2013

These days it seems like homemade bread is one of those oxymoronic luxuries. Buying bread at the store is just what everyone does nowadays. Just like back in the olden days (like a hundred years ago) everyone baked their own bread. It has just been accepted that bread is too much work, takes to much time and just isn’t worth it.

As always the truth is far muddier than it would seem. Baking a couple of loaves of bread on a Sunday really doesn’t take that long, especially if you have a bread machine. Much of the time is taken by the bread rising so it isn’t even that much actual work. The final question is whether or not baking bread at home is worth it. The hard part is trying to compare the nice, fresh home baked bread vs the plastic wrapped “wonder” type bread. So cost-wise I feel it is pretty much a wash. You may save a little bit of money to make bread at home, but it I don’t think only baking bread at home is going to pay off your mortgage.

So the real difference is the quality of bread that we are eating. So I’ve decided that for the month of March I’m going to only have homemade bread in my house. I have a bread machine so I will be using that as well as making bread by hand. I’ll have to see if it lasts beyond March but I have promised myself to not buy any loaves of bread for this next month. Good growing everybody.

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English Muffin Bread

P.S. I got an early start on it today by making these loaves of English Muffin bread.  I froze one loaf so it wouldn’t go bad while we eat the first one.

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