OK, this is a new kind of post for me. Yes, it is about our strawberry patch, that stays the same. What is different is how I produce it.
Recently, about 2 weeks ago, I upgraded from our old laptop computer to a new unit. Our old one was running system software and programs from 16 years ago. Yeah, ancient stone tablets…I know. The main problem was the old laptop keep heating up and shutting down…losing work in the process. We didn’t have a lot of choice, had to upgrade.
Along with the computer upgrade I wanted to get away from Microsoft products…that meant leaving Microsoft Office…Yea! After a whole lot of research I decided on LibreOffice suite. It basically looks and acts just as Microsoft Office…but it is free! I have been using it for two weeks, and there is a small learning curve, but it is working out great.
So, I am using LibreOffice Impress (Microsoft Powerpoint) to take photos, adding narratives, and then producing JPEG pictures for the actual post. Then I take the Impress presentation and create a PDF file to attach to the post so folks can download it should they desire to do so.
So now on with the strawberry info…
I have been working on our strawberry patch all summer. My goals were to: 1) establish the original 6 plants in the most healthy state as possible, 2) increase the size of the patch for next year. Goal #1…done! The original 6 plants are in fantastic shape and produced a ton of runners. From those runners I was able to start a whole bunch of “daughter” plants.
So the first round of transplanting yielded 15 plants that I put into 5 more containers. That project can be looked at in a previous post < click here >. Once I got those plants transplanted I was able to start 10 more “daughter” plants. That was successful…and I mean it went really well and the new plants looked great! But I was out of containers and I wanted to test my new raised bed concept.
Next year we are going with raised bed gardening. We tried “post hole” and it just didn’t work out. We ruled out conventional gardening due to the soil and HUGE amount of amending we would have to do…simply wouldn’t make sense from a work or cost perspective. So we wanted to try container and raised bed styles. This past summer we tried container gardening and it went well. But, I could tell it wouldn’t be practical for any kind of large gardening…meaning, we simply couldn’t grow enough food in containers. But, it would work for something like strawberries. The last of the strawberry patch plants gave us the opportunity to test our raised bed plans.
The last of the plants would go in a 2′ (wide) x 12′ (long) x 14″ (height) that I would build myself. I didn’t want the planters to be complicated, expensive, or difficult to build. So I went with four 2″ x 6″ x 12′ along with some scrap 4″ x 4″ that I had laying around. Yeah, I don’t throw out any lumber anymore…its worth way too much money and comes in useful down the road. I went with a 14″ tall bed, 10″ – 11″ will be soil, then a little bit of wood chips on top, and enough space to allow the water to not flow off and cause erosion problems. I only needed the stacked 2×6’s for a total of 11″ height since strawberry roots only go about 6″ – 9″ deep.
I decided on 2 stacked 2″x6″ boards because they were about 2/3rds the price of a single 2″x12″ board.
FYI…”experts” have opinions on the ideal soil depth in raised beds ranging from 8″ – 11″. Problem is there is no one ideal depth for soil. The depth of the soil is strictly dependent on the plant type…and it varies quite a bit…6″ – 18″ more or less. Here is a chart to give you an general idea…
And even with the chart you can make adjustments…such as with tomatoes. You can actually plant tomatoes horizontally. Since water uptake is the main need for tomatoes they don’t generally care about how the roots are arranged, just the fact that they can get enough water into the plant.
So here are the specifics of the project. You can click each picture/graphic to enlarge it. At the end of the article you can click the link to download PDF file.
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< click here to download the PDF file >
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