Slight confession

I may have lied at the start of the Make May Count project.  Well maybe not lie exactly, just stretched the truth when I said, “the garden is looking tidy and in control”.  I had dark areas of shame.  Mostly in the Friday sector.  It is nowhere near as well tended as the Monday sector.  I just seem to lose steam by Friday and because it is the sector that is at the far end of the garden, behind the dome, there is a  lot of ‘out of sight, out of mind’ going on.  Subsequently the weeds got a bit of a foot hold, although not to the point of being unmanageable.

The Friday sector
So great is my shame there are no before photos. But this is Sector Five – the Friday Sector, weeded and smartened up and looking forward to living its best life.

The other problem with this area was most of my strawberries had died in the spring.  I had only gone away for 10 days and I didn’t expect it not to rain in that time, so I didn’t think to ask Hubby the Un-Gardener to water them for me in my absence, along with the seedlings in the greenhouse.  The plants never really recovered no matter how much love I gave them over the summer, so I guess I just shrugged my shoulders and walked away feeling the grief of a lost crop.  The strawberries are runners of runners of runners from my first foray into gardening when my kids were toddlers and we grew them in a pot at the front door of our city house.  Some would say I was emotionally attached to these strawberries.

The strawberry bed
Soon this will be home to all the strawberry plants, but it isn’t exactly a verdant display of health at this point.

The good thing is I think enough of them have survived to carry on the legacy, the link to the past.  Once I cleared the weeds I found many healthy looking plants.  There were also many sickly looking ones that are still trying their best, and others were just dry balls of organic material with no life left in them.   As I weeded their bed, and the raspberries, which was just as dire, I came up with a plan.

Compost turner
I also turned my compost. The corkscrew makes it so much easier. It is coming along nicely.

The strawberries are spread across two 2m x 4m beds with 4m x 1x for each to represent the 1 year old, 2 year old and 3 year old plants.  The 2nd half of the 2nd strawberry beds is for currants, although I really don’t want to talk about those either.   Seriously this is a grim corner of the garden.   So, what I thought I’d do is consolidate the Strawberries into one bed with the three age group separated by its width not the length.  There will be less strawberries, but it will be easier to look after and considering I didn’t get hardly any this season there is always hope for better.

It would seem I’m making mushroom compost, and judging by the size of this one I seem to be doing a good job at it!

In the 2nd bed where the strawberries will be evicted from, I will put the raspberries.  This will give them a better home as I think where they are the soil is just too sandy.  They should be easier to look after in their new home too and maybe I’ll actually get a taste of these too.

Lime tree
Oh and I got my Lime tree repotted.

I feel better now I have a plan.  I just need to wait for the rain to come again.  We seem to get a decent rainfall and then nothing.  By the time it rains again, the soil has dried right out.  If I’m about to relocate multiple plants I want them to be settled in with lovely moist soil and continue to remain moist from the regular application of rain.

The fire pit area
So far so good – Hubby the Un-Gardener doesn’t muck around. I’d still be trying to figure out the maths behind how many materials I’d need!

I also weeded the pumpkin beds and a flower bed and gave the entire Friday sector a jolly good hoe to keep the weeds out of the paths.  To be honest the main reason for this weedy outburst is once again the power company was replacing the poles and switched us off again.  I think, judging by my productivity they should do it more often.  Actually no, it is a bit of a pain to be without power, so I’ll just have to find other ways to motivate myself.

Come again soon – the new area for relaxing with friends is starting to take shape.

Sarah the Gardener  : o)


12 thoughts on “Slight confession

  1. I need to replant my strawberries so I can plant my winter veg. Sarah, do I need to plant them ‘properly’ or can I plonk them all en masse in one less functional. Garden spot until late spring when my winter veg will ha e been consumed? I don’t have the luxury of spare garden beds. Helppppp

    1. Hi Lynne. If you don’t have the space, have you considered containers – there are loads of special strawberry planters that grow them vertically that makes the most of limited space. Or make planters up a fence (although make sure they are big enough and deep enough so they don’t constantly dry out.) I have even seen people repurpose tall plastic laundry baskets and plant strawberries through the holes all the way up. That could be a good (quick and cheap) stop gap measure for now and would buy you more time to figure out what to do in a more permanent way to have them. Winter is normally when they are planted, to get themselves ready for spring harvest so you could affect your fruiting crop if they don’t have a chance to settle into their home. But at the end of the day you can only do what you can do, and by plonking them en masse temporarily won’t harm them. I hope this helps. Cheers Sarah : o)

      1. Hi Sarah thanks for your advice re strawberries. I may leave them in situ as I didn’t realise their growing needs. I do have other garden space in another part of my garden, just my waist high beds are easier for me to work. They just grew so big and took over. Not complaining!! Cheers and thanks Lynne

  2. Hello Sarah, it’s me Laura in Canada. It’s been ages since I’ve visited this blog sight. So sorry to hear about your beloved strawberries, and yes I get you and completely understand the heartfelt moments finding them in that shape.

    1. Hi Laura. It has been frustrating but I did a quick count up yesterday and I think with my new arrangement there should be enough to get a good harvest this season. : o)

  3. Sarah, I killed my strawberries with neglect as well. The last couple years I didn’t have time to really tend properly to my Terra Nova Gardens which lives nine miles from my home. As a result wild weeds buried and suffocated them. Not a single one survived. They were gifts to me from a vacant lot neighbor. I never really got many strawberries from the patch as the birds love strawberries and just as they would start to bear, I would find nothing by empty stems on the plants. So when I decide to have strawberries again, I’ll have to come up with a covering that will keep out the birds but let in the bees.

    Our frosty days are over and the nights are better suited for planting summer plants but now the challenge will be to make it through hail season. May here in Nebraska is noted for at least one or two storms with hail. It seems like there’s always some kind of threat to the gardens. I did get some sweet corn planted. Now I must dedicate some serious time to protection of the two beds of sweet corn. I have a four foot steel wire fence around the sweet corn patch and then a double strand battery operated electric fence around the outside of the steel wire fence. This is the only way I have found to keep out the raccoons. Electric shock is the only thing they respect.

    My country is very divided about the coronavirus. Some say it would be a mistake to lift the quarantine and others say it’s time to lift it. My state (Nebraska) has lifted the shut down on some things. Restaurants at 50% capacity, barbers and hair salons with less than 10 people in the shop at a time and six foot spacing are allowed. To handle the crowds businesses that can be open have gone to reservation only. Sporting events, theaters, bars (pubs) and other crowd gathering events are not allowed just yet. All schools, of course, are still closed with a threat of not opening in the Fall. We have had major outbreaks of the virus in the meat processing plant workers which has shut down four major plants so far and resulting in very little meat in the grocery stores. So just as the shelves were being replenished with toilet paper the focus is now on no meat. What a crazy time this is.

    Have a great day in the garden.

    Nebraska Dave
    Urban Farmer

    1. Hi Dave. I may need to create a bird protection for my berries too. I’ll have to see how bad they are.
      The storms and bad weather in the last month of spring was the same. It kept up right into the early summer and was so heartbreaking as so many seedlings were destroyed. At least we don’t have racoons and other critters to worry about. Except rats.
      I am very proud of our countries response. It has been controlled well enough now that we can safely come out of lockdown but there are still some restrictions in place. We aren’t allowed large crowds but the kids go back to school on Monday.
      It must be so difficult to live in such a chaotic environment. Stay safe and find joy in your garden. Cheers Sarah : o)

  4. I’m. Interested in your comment re the outbreak in meat processing plants as a similar outbreak in Melbourne currently. Raccoons!! And here’s me complaining about birds. Good luck. Cheers Lynne

    1. Hi Lynne. Goodness I hope your food supply chain isn’t disrupted as dramatically as it would seem to be for Dave. I’m so pleased we don’t have to deal with raccoons! : o)

  5. So, your strawberries have been around for quite a while. I learned that they must be replaced every few years because they get various virus. I know that strawberry growers do it. It is a wonder that their crops are lucrative enough to pay for such replacement. Yet, some of mine are very old. I do not know how old because new ones were added in, but the newest were from about 1995. They are at another house, so I do not know how they are doing, but I hear they still produce decently.

    1. I have divided my strawberry garden into three and throw out the oldest ones every three years and refresh the soil. While we do have a number of problems that can face our strawberries it would seem that virus is the least of our worries. I know my plants were subject to drought conditions from a lack of watering compounded by drying winds this season. Hopefully I can have a better season this year. : o)

      1. So, it is like alternating canes . . . without the canes. Now that I think of it, virus may not be such a problem if there are not many other strawberries in the region. They are likely many more of them here, and Watsonville, which is the Strawberry Capital of the World, is not far away.

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