I am happy to report that one New Year’s Resolution is complete: I have officially planted my strawberry patch!
The weather in Oklahoma is always erratic. You plan for that as best you can, but March and April were difficult. It seems that every weekend was cold and/or rainy. And there is always the wind! We had some great week-day weather, but – of course – I am at work during the week. Getting the strawberry patch in took some creative scheduling! (Getting this blog posted took even more creativity. It was drafted weeks ago!)
For prosperity sake, here’s what I did:
I matched the raised garden beds I put in last March. The cinder block from Home Depot is a great invention. The boards on the short ends are 4’ long. The boards on the long ends are 12’ (cut in half for ease of transport home). They are approximately 6” deep – from the top to the ground. Since I used untreated wood, I painted them with an exterior latex stain. Hopefully this will give them a little longer life.
I borrowed by brother’s truck to haul a load of ‘rich mix’ dirt from the soil supplier near me. I’m proud to report that it only took me two hours to move this dirt. I filled the strawberry patch and then had enough to amend the dirt in a flower bed that borders my house (more on that later).
I purchased two different kinds of strawberry plants: 18 Allstar and 18 Sequoia. They say that the June-bearing strawberry plants are the most successful in Oklahoma, producing one large crop spread over several weeks in June. While technically both Allstars and Sequoia are June-bearing, the Sequoia does tend to produce throughout the whole summer and into the fall. I’m hoping that the combination of both will give me a solid harvest.
Before planting, I pulled all the existing fruit and pinched all the existing flowers. The literature says that by sacrificing a harvest this first year, my future yields will be better. When planting, I alternated the two types of plants throughout the patch. Per the recommendation of my nursery, I watered immediately after planting. A couple of hours later, I watered again using a root stimulator
Oh, I forgot to mention that before planting anything, I amended the soil with some vermiculate combined with a little bit of perlite. That’s the white specks you see here in the soil.
I finished off with a healthy layer of straw mulch.
Of course, my dogs have already run through the patch a dozen times. And I’m seeing evidence that the wild rabbits have found my patch of treats. I am hoping to avoid dealing with protecting this patch until next summer when I actually have fruit. I’ve noticed that the birds are flocking to this area. They clearly recognize the plant, but must be confused that they aren’t finding any fruit.
I’ve have been diligently plucking these little white flowers every day. It makes me sad to forgo having strawberries this year, but I’ve been doing a lot of plucking so I think I should have a fantastic harvest next year.
For now, I will simply enjoy the fact that I have a strawberry patch. Hooray for me!