As you may have read in a blog I wrote earlier in the year I am a great lover of landscape fabric that I use to cover the veg patch in winter, suppressing the weeds, whilst the worms work away underneath incorporating the manure I have also added, into the soil. There are, however, places the fabric is harder to use and without careful weeding things can get out of hand ... namely the strawberry patch. Now I know a lot of people go grow their strawberries through holes in the fabric but I have never done this as I like to allow the plants to put out runners in late summer which when rooted I can pot up for new plants to replace old ones.
My initial strawberry patch that we planted in 2008 when we first moved to Lenault had become very weedy so I took the decision 2 years ago to dig up some of the plants and create a new bed. So far so good and this summer I had a fantastic crop of strawberries from it. I had also repeated the exercise a year ago to further extend the bed but this has been much less successful. It may be that the soil I planted into was too full of weed seeds or I may have brought the weeds over in the roots of the transplants. I don't know but the result is an exceedingly weedy second strawberry bed. The main intruder is a species of buttercup and it doesn't help that the leaves of this looks very much like those of strawberries plus it has exceedingly tenacious rootss that make it hard to dig up.
This is what I have to deal with:
|The newer strawberry bed - most of what you see are buttercup leaves|
|2 year old weed weed-free strawberry bed on the left|
What should I do? This was some of my 2014 harvest and I really do want to see this sight again come the summer. Whilst the one bed will give me lots of strawberries I actually want MOUNTAINS of the things. There's strawberry gateaux I want to bake, jam to make, strawberry liqueur and ice cream. Oh and strawberry sauce and rhubarb and strawberry crumble and and and .....
I have a plan!
Over the next few weeks I shall try and weed through the second bed. If this works with luck the plants will be bigger next summer and their leaves will help shade out the weeds (fingers crossed). I do however have a plan B. When weeding the older bed I pulled up several of the runners by accident and I have potted these up. If weeding is unsuccessful I shall cover the patch with fabric and come the spring plant through the fabric with the plants I have in pots. It may make it harder to get new runners but I do have the other bed for these.
|Weeded out strawberry runners waiting to be potted up.|
Time will tell which method turns out to be the best .. quite possibly plan C which I have not even thought about yet! In the meantime I have a freezer full of strawberries waiting to be turned into jam - something that I will thoroughly enjoy doing in the midst of winter, filling our kitchen with the colours and smells of summer.
For more garden updates do head on over to Mammasaurus and the How Does Your Garden Grow linky. I'm betting there may not be many strawberries there but you never know!