Of all the typical calamities that befall strawberry beds: birds, squirrels, slugs, drought (and I’ve had all of those), it was unexpected to say the least when an electrical transformer exploded over mine and doused it with dielectric fluid just as the strawberries were getting ready to pick.
But I was more determined than ever not to give up on my strawberry hopes and ordered more strawberry plugs to plant this fall for next year’s harvest.
Moving FAR away from toxic oil-filled electrical devices, I planned a new bed from scratch. The strawberry plants had already arrived so I had to act quickly and create an instant bed. I should note I had several months to get the bed ready but true to form I procrastinated and waited until the plants were ready to go in the ground before I started working on it.
In a spot that is perhaps the last bit of sun I have, I started by hauling over rotting logs from a tree that fell a few years ago. Some of them were completely rotted and crumbled into rich humus. Some were partially decomposed and I chipped off the rotten part and dragged the remains of the logs to form the edging of the new bed.
Once I had the perimeter of the bed laid out, I started hauling in chicken run dirt on top of the rotten wood to fill up the bed.
Chicken run dirt is one of the best things about having chickens. We dump kitchen waste, yard and garden waste, bags of leaves and grass clippings into the run and the chickens continually scratch at it all while blessing it with their excretions until what remains is the richest, most amazing soil imaginable. By the time the strawberries are ready to harvest in early summer, any contamination from recent poop will be gone.
I planted the strawberry plants at least 12 inches apart. I was able to fit 45 plants in the bed. After watering them in, I mulched with pine straw.
They look sort of yellow now, but they’ll green up quickly now that they have some space and sun and good soil. Through the rest of the fall and next spring they’ll grow strong roots so they can start producing the first summer.
I’m very excited and can’t wait to see what nature and/or man comes up with next to assault the new strawberries. On the bright side, if a meteorite strikes the bed it will probably kill any voles, at least temporarily . . .