Making the bed

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.

6 people are having a conversation about “Making the bed

  1. There’s nothing better than home-grown strawberries. Unfortunately the chipmunks got every single one of mine last year – not sure I’m going to bother feeding them this summer!

  2. Paula — There’s nothing the girls like better than some freshly dug dirt! I hope they stop thinking its for them as soon as there are strawberry plants in it.

    Fiona — We went into this assuming we’d have to keep out the varmints, who apparently like strawberries almost as much as we do. We’ve got a plan to put wire around them as they ripen … we’ll see how that works out.

  3. i miss my uber fabulous, perennial strawberry garden in Phoenix. Yes, perennial. That sucker would come back every year and provide me with almost 5 months of strawberries. Only problem we ever had were these tiny bugs called roly polys. tiny little things with a hard shell that as soon as they’re touched, roll up into a little ball. they’re attracted to water. also: strawberries. they’d eat the frak out of mine. Finally, after a ton of research, i discovered that Diatomaceous earth would kill em and not harm my berries. Do we have such critters here? If so, it’d be worth it to throw some earth into your earth, so to speak. Also: the compost pile in Harwich is year round if you’re interested.

  4. One difference I can think of – you put your bed inside a house, with walls to deter the wind from introducing competing weeds, and your roots are metaphysical. You don’t become an integral part of your bed, and don’t depend on your bed to supplement your nutrition.

    And (hopefully) you don’t water your bed, nor turn the chickens loose in it.

    Since the bed is life itself to your strawberries, a bit of preparation was likely warranted.

    On the other hand, fresh sheets, or at least warmed in the dryer at bed time, are something my sister in Minnesota expresses delight in.

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