Friday, 8 May 2015

... strawberries & rhubarb

Hello everyone,

Strawberries and rhubarb. Makes you think of pie, doesn't it? Me too. :)

When we first fenced in the kitchen garden back in 2011, we planted 4 rhubarb plants. They have never done well here. We have never harvested a single piece of rhubarb from any of them. 

And after some research, I now know why.

They do not like our soil.

So this year I decided to do something about that. This is in conjunction with the idea I had last year about putting in a strawberry patch. I do believe that we are back where we started. You know ... pie.

As I have noted in previous posts the area that is now our kitchen garden was once a lovely hay field. It sat unused and uncut for over 30 years before we bought the land. In that time it ceased to be hay and turned into weeds. Lots of perennial wildflowers and LOTS of COUCH GRASS. So last spring I decided to try to save myself some labour and we covered a large part of what would be the strawberry patch with cardboard and tarps in the hopes of killing the weeds. They tarps are still in place now. I am almost afraid to look under them.

The rest of the strawberry patch was left and would have to be dealt with this year since we ran out of tarps and cardboard.

This picture will show you what I am dealing with. Couch grass. It has other names but basically it is just plain old bad news. Very hard to dig out. I have tried a couple of different methods and finally settled on kneeling or sitting on the ground and digging like someone demented with a two prong hand fork. This seems to work best for me. I can get down about 12" with two passes and I get my hand in there to feel for the roots which I gleefully yank out. You really need to try to get all of it or back it will come.

The entire area that needed to be cleared is about 14 feet wide and close to 20 feet long. I have been at it now for 3 days. I am about 1/3 done. 

Did I fail to mention that the temperatures have soared here in eastern Ontario. It was 30 degrees today. I may have also forgot to mention the Black Flies. Yes, it is that time again. So there I was, in my bug shirt, digging like a madwoman with the sweat running down my face like a tap and stinging my eyes. I finally could not take it any longer and took off the net bug shirt and gave up caring whether the little beggars bit me or not. I do not think I have any bites. I think it is even too hot for the Black Flies.

When I look at the patch that I have cleared, I know that all this hard graft is worth it. The rhubarb will have a new tailor make home in which to grow and with luck, we may even get to eat some next spring.

I have 150 strawberry plants ordered and they should be here in a week or two. That should give me enough time to finish up and create the beds for them. I have heard this heat wave is to end in a couple of days and the temperature is to drop quite a bit. Sounds absolutely wonderful to me. I will just keep on digging with a mental picture of a lovely pie in my mind.

Thanks a lot for stopping by. Have a wonderful day. Cheers.

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