Thursday, April 25, 2013

Strawberry Fields 4ever

I'm so happy it's spring! I'm not even irritated that we keep getting bouts of freezing temps and snow. I've lived in the Midwest plenty long and I know to expect snow clear into May. I enjoy the bouts of warm temps when they come and allow a bit of leeway when it comes to my spring planting.

Each spring I usually put in a bit of landscaping. Whether it's putting in flower beds, building trellises or building a new walkway or fire pit. Last year I moved my little water garden from the back corner of the yard to sit beside the porch. We had goldfish in it, but they never seem to make it more than a season and so I've determined that we will have a froggy pond, not a gold fish pond. I even made a sign, see?

There are poppies, daisies and coneflowers planted around the pond.
When they come in, it will be quite a pretty natural look.
This year, we wanted to grow strawberries but because the large oak tree planted in the corner of our yard is shading the back half of our garden, we needed to find a new site. The old pond site was looking pretty atrocious. I thought about it and thought about it, and came up with a design using materials we already had to make a raised strawberry bed on that slope.

My determination faltered for about a minute when I first came back to this site and became overwhelmed
by the amount of digging and excavating it was going to take. But one thing I've learned digging a lot
of holes (I have built 4 in ground water gardens) is that a large amount of dirt is easily moved, one
shovel at a time.

Adam was fascinated by what we found when we turned over these rocks!

The fill spot from where the pond used to sit was sunken in a bit and we were looking to make a raised bed. It took quite a lot of digging on the slope to bring all of the soil down.

I used to live in a house which butted up next to a creek. There was a long steep slope from my back door down to this creek, and this slope was positively littered with limestone rocks. It took many days outside to dig up these rocks and climb up the slope with them to the back yard, but I had a lot of them and my first pond was gorgeous! When we moved, we decided to bring the pond (and the rocks) with us. But because the pond now sits partially beneath our porch and we have far fewer rocks around it, we have a surplus of them sitting in the corner of the yard. The kids helped me move the rocks back over to our site where I dry stacked a sixteen inch tall wall.

Karlie was a big help breaking up the soil and raking it towards the front of our wall.

One thing I've gotten pretty good at over the years is dry stacking limestone rocks so that it's good looking and won't fall over, even when little feet run across them.

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There is plenty of room on the back end of this slope to build a second tier, for an herb garden. On the very top, I plan on growing some berry vines, such as blackberry, raspberry and blueberry.

I love that my kid dressed up like Bumblebee to help me in the yard.

We got some old weathered pallets from my next door neighbor and broke them up, cut them down, and made a little wooded "fence on the back end of the new bed. Adam had a lot of fun breaking them apart.

This little fence is to keep the bunnies out. They are jaggety on purpose.
We have a lot of bunnies in our neighborhood. Every spring the cute little shits eat up half of my produce as it's coming out of the ground. They're really fond of strawberry plants, so I built a barrier. The front and sides are raised and rocky, the rabbits will have a hard time getting in that way. On the back side, we dug a deep trench and then placed these posts to form a fence. They are purposely staggered in height for simplicity and for looks. Plus, it'll make it that much harder for the rabbits to find away over it.

We couldn't find our spade, so we used a kitchen spoon.

We planted around 28 June bearing straweberry plants. These are perennial, and will come back year after year if we take good care of them. That's why it was important for me to have a good place to keep them. I am expecting a pretty good crop to bake in pies, make strawberry shortcake, eat fresh and can into jams. Notice I did not say that I expect to have any for sharing.

Karlies favorite part is to water them in.
I expect this weekend to build the second tier and plant my herb garden.

I realized after I took this picture that I misspelled the sign.

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