This past week, the new strawberry patch finally went in the ground! Only to be “unplanted” each of the next few nights thanks to a curious possum that decided to see what might be under each of the plants.
Thankfully, the possum wasn’t interested in damaging the plants – and simply popped them out to the side of the hole to dig and root in the loose soil below.
After a few days of replanting some of the dislocated plants – he or she has seems to have lost interest – and the new plants are thriving so far.
Why the New Strawberry Patch?
We planted the new patch as a more permanent and simple way to grow our strawberries in the coming years. We located our old strawberry patch in the area of the previous chicken coop – figuring we would take advantage of the fertile ground – and it proved fertile for the weeds too! We also opted not to use fabric underneath for weed control in the old patch, thinking we could mulch around plants with the same success as we have had in our raised row garden. In short – all of those seemingly “brilliant” ideas at the time actually made our strawberries a nightmare to maintain!
Without a weed barrier underneath – it has become nearly impossible to weed – and planting in a bed space and not rows make them hard to pick. So – it was time to make a new patch!
We located the new patch just outside the left side of the garden, and grew annual rye in the space last fall to build in nutrients and help loosen the soil underneath. It runs 50′ long x 4′ wide, and holds 60 total plants in 2 long rows – 50 of which are June bearing, and 10 more that are ever-bearing to give us a small supply all summer long.
Creating the New Patch…
We laid out a 50′ x 4′ roll of landscaping fabric, and held it in place with metal “u” spikes every few feet on the edges and down the middle. Then, using a razor blade, we cut out an opening for each plant and used our post hole digger to quickly plant them in the ground. (See: Planting Your Garden With A Post Hole Digger).
We ended up spacing our plants around 14″ to 16″ apart to keep them more compact – and the 2 long rows should make it simple to pick and maintain.
Strawberries are actually quite simple to plant, you just need to set in the plants so that the upper portion of the crown is just slightly above the level of the ground.
The crown is the portion that is directly above the root area, and below the first set of leaves. For more detailed information on planting, you can check out our earlier article : How To Grow Strawberries.
Each strawberry plant should produce about 3/4 to a full quart of fruit over the next few years as they mature – giving us plenty to eat fresh – and of course make some delicious Strawberry-Honey Jam and my favorite, Strawberry Pie!
Happy Gardening – Jim and Mary!