Saturday, March 17, 2018

Thinning Strawberries

Last year I planted some strawberries in three of the cattle supplement tubs that we got from a friend.  The following link contains a picture of one tub of strawberries in May of last year.

After that picture was taken, the strawberry plants in these containers went crazy, sending out runners which made lots of new plants.  I was actually quite surprised by this.  The tubs are black and collect a lot of heat during sunny summer days.  I thought they would be too hot for strawberries, but I was wrong.

Winter is almost over and we are beginning to have quite a few warm days and I decided it was time to clean out and thin my strawberries.  Here's one of the strawberry tubs before I started.

As you can see there are a lot of dead leaves, so I had to remove those before I could see where the strawberry plants were.  

Next, I selected certain plants that I dug up.  You have to practice "tough love" when thinning strawberries.  Sometimes that means getting pretty rough with them.  I removed the big clump in the middle.  It took some digging and hard pulling to get it out.

It consisted of several plants crowded close together.  I saved these to plant somewhere else.

I tried to leave plenty of room between the remaining plants in order for them to have room to grow. Here's the tub after I finished.

After I thinning all three tubs, I had almost a whole Walmart bag full of plants that I will give away or plant elsewhere.  

My work was made a lot easier by this garden bench.  It is just the right height to use with the tubs.  You can also turn it over and use it to kneel on.

So, one spring chore is completed, but I have a lot more to go.  Wish me luck!

Friday, March 9, 2018

Spring Planting

It's still rather early to plant summer yielding vegetables, but for cool season crops, like onions and potatoes, it is the perfect time.

Last week Tom planted onions.  He usually buys onion plants.  These come in bundles and can be obtained at many grocery stores, although he bought these from our local farm store.  He bought 5 bundles that included sweet onions and red onions.  He also bought 3 kinds of seed potatoes:  Kennebec, Yukon Gold and Red LaSota.  He spent an afternoon planting these.  They sure look tiny in the field, but they will grow big and round in our compost enhanced soil.

While I was down there taking pictures of the onions, I checked out the garlic we planted last fall.  In Oklahoma, you plant garlic in the fall and harvest it in June.  We mulch it with leaves for winter protection.  It's looking good.  

Tom had just finished planting potatoes when I was out there taking pictures.  Here he is mulching them with leaves.  Note the black trash bags full of leaves in the background.  These are some of the ones he rescued from the trash trucks in town last fall.  We use them for mulching the garden, as well as adding them to our compost piles.

Our chickens saw him out in the field and thought they would come see if they could help.  Actually, they were looking for bugs and whatever goodies they could find in the freshly tilled soil.

After they grew tired of that, they checked out the new compost pile and found that much more interesting.

The chicken in the foreground is scratching around in the remains of a pile of finished compost.  It was several feet tall before Tom spread most of it on the onion and potato patches.  There are still several buckets of compost here.  I plan to use that for some of my raised beds near the house.

We will not be doing as much gardening this year as we have in the past.  I am having some back problems and Tom is going to have to have eye surgery.  Getting older is NOT fun!  Never the less, I always see us having a small garden, if only to grow herbs and a few tomatoes.