for no edit friday.
i’m really missing our garden and having some withdrawals. seeing these netted and scarred seascape strawberries somehow makes me feel better.
also knowing that the critters finally left our strawberry crops alone gives me hope. i’m fantasizing about pots full of dangling sweet strawberries.
© desixlb 2014
This no-dig raised bed area was made with 100% free, salvaged, or recycled materials (except for the fencing fixtures), and now hosts a wide variety of berries, perennial walking onions, grapes, and daylilies, along with annual plantings of beans, salad greens, and peas.
The worms made short work of the grass plane once it was covered in newspaper, cardboard, wood chips, and compost. I built a trellis and pathway to make all of the food more accessible in this area: the trellis hosts three young grape vines and scarlet runner beans, and the pathways are lined with strawberries.
While by no means finished, a year has transformed this once grassy corner into the beginnings of a productive section in an edible forest garden.
OK OK, not entirely white but … pretty darn close! These are the blooms from my newest borage to open; thus, this is from entirely different genetics than the previous one I’d been posting.
Borage is my favourite. It’s an excellent companion plant for strawberries, and it is 100% edible! The white colour is recessive and the blue/purple/pink is dominant; pink flowers can result in certain soil/light conditions on ‘blue’ plants [x, x].
Strawberries don’t produce fruit if plagued by too many “runners.” Mine had gone mad this year due to a heavy helping of compost and bark mulch, and no attention or pruning; thus I’ve had almost no fruit, and instead been gifted with 200+ new strawberry plants! I have 15+ different cultivars of strawberry, but I don’t keep too much track over what is what, simply because they grow and spread so rapidly that I can’t be sure of my planting labels.
The runners have small nubbish roots, so by pruning each plantlet to 1-2 leaves, and wrapping the root ball in moist paper towel, I can encourage these proto-roots to develop into the real thing. I wrap trays of the cuttings in plastic, so that the aspiration of the leaves doesn’t result in too much water loss. The shock of being separated from the parent plant should induce chemical and hormonal changes in the plant, prompting it to root as quickly as possible.
Strawberries form excellent ground cover, and can be invasive if you let them take over an area. I am using them as a living mulch under fruit trees, and to line all of the pathways in the garden.
In food forest gardening, strawberries are a good choice for the soil surface layer of the biome:
The foliage of the plants traps water at the surface of the soil, retaining moisture for other plants (trees and shrubs) planted nearby. In the fall, their leaves provide mulch, which is converted into soil nutrition as it breaks down.
My strawberries have too many runners, so I am using them as organic twine to bind up droopy perennials and tomatoes. It’s surprisingly durable.
Veggie Bed #1 — designed with both #polyculture and #companion planting in mind. This bed was built up for free this past year over a grass plane, using a #sheet mulch of newspaper, compost, and a felled tree as a border, with wood chips around the exterior.
- Onions: Egyptian Walking Onions (4 cultivars), Red Onions, White Onions, Shallot Onions
- Lettuces: Bibb Lettuce, Oak Leaf Lettuce, Mesclun Mix
- Strawberries: 15 cultivars including alpine strawberries, garden strawberries, and pineberries. These are situated around the border of the bed so the berries rest on wood chips when ripe, preventing rot.
Onions keep pests away from strawberries, spinach, and lettuces; spinach grows well with strawberries; borage attracts beneficial insects and interacts favourably with strawberries; marigolds repel nematodes in the soil, as well as hungry moth and butterfly larvae. (X).
Strawberries have their highest yields in the 2nd and 3rd year, and they decline in fruit production thereafter. It’s a good idea to replace older plants with runners every 2-3 years to continue harvesting a good crop.