Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Strawberry Bed Settled for Winter

Patch with last of six loads of weeds (mostly wheat).
       With four inches or more of snow blanketing the ground, I believe it's time to proclaim the 2011 growing season finished. Earlier this month, I weeded the June-bearing strawberry patch one last time, with Sam's help of course. I wound up removing the volunteer wheat, which I'd intended to leave in place all winter. The cold would have killed it, but I decided I'd rather have it working in a compost pile than withering uselessly in place. Aside from the wheat, there wasn't much in the way of weeds, and the rows have filled out so well that I'm dreaming about harvesting a hundred quarts instead of a "mere" hundred, twenty-five pounds I picked this year.
Patch blanketed with straw for the winter.
      I can fantasize about endless strawberry shortcake, but the size of next year's crop depends heavily on the weather this winter and, especially, next spring. To help protect the plants, I've blanketed the rows with a couple of inches of straw. I'll need to rake this aside in the spring when the weather starts to warm, and probably, rake it back onto the rows when frost threatens. Then I'll need to be sure the awakening plants get plenty of water. But that's months away. For now, I've put the patch to bed, and like a mother watching her child sleep, can dream of what the future will hold.  

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