Wednesday, 1 May 2013

The New Strawberry Bed

 It was time to replace the strawberry plants and I decided to move them to a new location which would be sunnier and a bit dryer, given the appalling summer weather we have had in recent years.  I decided on this bed, which was actually very poor soil when I took on this patch ten years ago.  Since then, annual composting and some manure have improved the quality and quantity of soil in the bed, which is now quite full.  Last year's monsoons actually shifted a lot of this soil downhill, as the bed slopes in two directions, so I had to expend a good bit of energy moving the soil from the bottom to the top!
 As you can see from the photos, I also decide to mound the soil with a slope either side and the plants put in along the highest point.  This is really an attempt to ensure good drainage, and is a old technique developed in the past when our climate was similarly challenged.  The idea is the rain will run into the sides of the bed and not drown the plants - in addition, the plants should get more sun and better ventilation, both of which were an increasing problem in the old strawberry bed.

I left it late to get the plants, there were only a few unnamed plants left at the garden centre, but I have also put in some plants I grew from runners on the old plants, so I'm hoping I will get a small crop this year.
 While the temperatures are still a little below par, the increasing sun is having a positive effect, with the rhubarb here coming on very well now.  Behind it you can just see the Jerusalem Artichoke bed - I had to go and find the artichokes which had escaped from this bed into neighbouring ones!   I expect I have missed a couple, but most of them are now safely back where they started a few years ago.

My summer cabbages and first lettuce sowing are now germinating, and the broad beans are finally showing a bit of life, very late this year.  I have just put in the first pea crop as well, so things are moving along now.
 Things are looking up - the plum tree seems to have a lot of blossom as you can see from this photo.
 And at the house, the primroses are in full flow.
These grape hyacinths are simply delightful, with a lovely scent as you walk by.  I've put them at the front door so I can admire the look and smell.  The red shoots belong to a peony which is in the middle of the large pot, the grape hyacinths around the edge, to provide a few months of flowers.
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