I’ve never been much of a bed-maker. It seems silly to spend a lot of time on fixing the sheets and blankets when only Kevin and I will see the bed from morning until night, when we just mess it up again. If I make it at all, I tend to try and get rid of the biggest lumps and smooth out the top layer – a down comforter can cover a multitude of sins.
Strawberries, though, are much more particular about beds than I am, and today Kevin and I spent a couple of hours making theirs.
We’re short on sunlit spaces, and we’re trying to use every square foot of what we’ve got. There’s a small patch of ground cover, about four feet by five, in front of our shed that we decided to appropriate for our strawberries, due later this month from Miller Nurseries.
I’m afraid it may not be sunny enough. It gets excellent sun in the morning and early afternoon – about six hours’ worth. As soon as the sun passes behind the shed, though, it’s all over. Unfortunately, our only other option was to put them in something moveable, and wheel it around to follow the little patches of sunlight as they appear. That seemed like a lot of work, even if strawberries are the payoff, so we went with the shed.
I went out there with the spade to uproot the ground cover, but I hadn’t taken two digs at it before Kevin came in with the heavy equipment – the DR mower with the rototiller attachment.
Last year, we borrowed a heavy-duty Craftsman rototiller from a friend. After we’d had it for a couple of months and tilled up everything we thought we’d be planting, he understandably wanted it back, so we had to go to Plan B on the strawberries. We’d bought the DR mower – a seriously overwrought string trimmer, really – at a yard sale, but we’d never tried the rototiller attachment it came with.
Somewhat to my surprise (you never know what you’re going to get at a yard sale), it worked beautifully. On this, its inaugural till, it ploughed up with ground cover in just a couple of minutes.
That was the only hard part, and a machine did it. The rest of the work consisted of nailing four pieces of wood into a rectangle (Kevin did that), digging a trench around the bed for the wood to rest in (I did that), and putting the frame in the ground. Voila! Strawberry bed.
We’ll put a few inches of compost in it when the compost pile at the dump opens in a couple of weeks, add a little 10-10-10 fertilizer, and it’ll be ready for the plants, due at the end of the month.
As a gardening project, it was pretty easy, but four man-hours is more time than I devote to bed-making in an entire year, so these berries better make it worth my while.