I also finally made up my mind that I was going to build a smaller 2x2 foot box for strawberries. I had been mulling it over since day one, and decided to take the plunge.
During my lunch break at work yesterday, I went to a local nursery and picked up my herbs (parsley, rosemary, basil, oregano and thyme). I also picked up my bush bean seeds as well.
After I got home from work, Tony and I went to Home Depot and picked up the materials for my strawberry box. We decided to go with 6" deep in this box. I also needed the materials to make a removable cage to keep the birds out of my baby berries. Plus some more ingredients for Mel's mix. And, oh yeah, some strawberry plants.
I had decided I wanted to go with an everbearing or day-neutral variety of plant. I decided against the June-bearing for a couple of reasons. One, they only produce a harvest once a year and two, they tend to send out a lot of runners. Not something you necessarily want in a raised bed that is only going to be four square feet.
According to Mel Bartholomew's New Square Foot Gardening book (yes, I picked it up yesterday morning before work), I could plant four everbearing strawberries per square foot.
We ended up getting Quintal strawberries at Home Depot. That was what they had. I had to google them while standing in the aisle, cause I had no idea what type of berry they are. They're everbearing, and I read a lot of good reviews on them online when we got home.
After all of that running around, I was done for the day. It was hot, I was tired, and I decided to get up and take advantage of the cool morning today for all of my hard construction and planting.
Got up about 7:00 a.m. today had a cup of coffee and hit the garden. It was still relatively cool (only 66 degrees...LOL). I got my herbs and beans into the SFG. Then I had to come back inside to get a break from the damn blackflies. They were eating me alive.....again. I need to invest in some bug repellent.
Parsley and Rosemary
My parsley looks a little droopy in the picture, but it was already starting to perk up some this afternoon. I probably will take off some of the longer stalks in a couple of days to allow it to "bush out" more.
After my second coffe break, it was time to start the construction phase of today. I needed Tony's help for this part, some of it was a two person job, and some of it required tools I didn't know how to use.
We started by putting the strawberry box together. We had decided to go with 2x6 boards for this box and make it 2'x2'. We had the boards cut while we were at Home Depot yesterday. The box went together quickly. Then we started working on the removeable cage. This was trickier than we had anticipated. We put together the base of it with 1x2 boards screwed together to form a square. That was the easy part.
The next step was to wrap chicken wire around the circumference of the base and secure it to the base. This was not easy. What we had bought was called "Hardware Cloth," and was on a roll 24" high by 5' long. It was vinyl covered wire with 1/2" opening in the wire. It was a bitch. It was hard to unroll and hold in place, it kept wanting to roll back up. We started out stapleing the fencing to the base, but that was not working great, so we went with zip-ties. Things started going much easier from there.
Before we started wrapping the base, we cut off a two foot length to create the top for the cage. While at Home Depot yesterday we had calculated we would need 10 feet. Eight feet around the base, and two feet for the top. So....we bought two rolls.
Ummm....yeah...that didn't really work out.....
Notice the gap in my "cage." That's not really going to keep the birds out!
Tony volunteered to run to Home Depot to pick up another roll, while I got the weed block attached to the bottom of the box, got the Mel's mixed up, and got the strawberries planted.
The timing worked out just about perfect, I was just finishing up the planting when he got home from Home Depot and the grocery store. He brought me more wire, more zip-ties, and a pair of wire snips!! That man knows the way to a girl's heart!
Finally got everything done about one o'clock. I'm very pleased with the results!
Strawberry box with cage off.
Strawberry box with cage on.
The strawberries had been sold with three plants to a pot, so we picked up 5 pots. That gave us 15 plants. Two of them looked mostly dead. Although their roots were underdeveloped, they still seemed alive, so I planted them anyway. I figure the worst that'll happen is they won't take and I'll just get rid of them then.
Ok, so now for the money spent yesterday and today:
2x6 board, 8 foot length for box: $4.82
1x2 board, 8 foot length for cage: $1.97
Hardware Cloth (3 rolls...grrrr): $29.94
Peat moss (2 cu. ft.): $8.97
Compost (0.75 cu. ft.): $2.47
Perlite (they didn't have vermiculite):$3.97
Herbs and bean seeds: $33.41