Creating a Cinder Block Raised Strawberry Bed
Last spring we knew that we had to do some work on taking down and doing some major reno work, this meant that it was very good odds that we would lose our main strawberry in ground garden rows.
So in Spring of 2018, Dear Hubby picked out and potted up three plants per large 5 or 4 gallon pot of strawberry plants out of the garden and we grew them in pots all season long.. they produced a small crop of strawberries for us but they certainly made extra babies as well.
Come fall, we had hoped to have moved them to a planned higher ridge garden area in the food forest edge, but just as the big potato patch was crushed so was this area that we had been working on in the “Big yard Shake up of 2018)
Winter was coming and there sat my tubs of plants.. We have very cold winters and if you want plants in pots to come though it, you either did them holes in the ground to place them in or you must get them into the ground..
So late in the season, we had a nicer day and we grabbed the blocks that have become available from a different project and we put together a quick and fast raised bed.. I didn’t even try and pull them apart, as I didn’t want any root damage to happen in the late fall.. instead we interfiled between the plant clumps and covered it up and banked it for winter.
This was a slow area to melt out, with a ton of snow on it.. hubby put a sprinkle of sand on the snow to help it melt out faster and it did work compared to the area around it.. but how much was the sand and how much was the raised bed and the extra heating of the cement block? A little bit of this and a little bit of that..
You can see what I am talking about in the photo that I just pulled the plants from the pots and put them in as a solid mass.
Once we were done, the blocks were filled with a 50% compost/ 50% Local Soil with sheep wool balls in tucked in the corners to hold the water so they will not dry out as quickly.
The main bed had another full wheel barrel of compost/soil mixed into it.. there are 24 plants in the main bed, and they are tight on space, haven been only given 8 square inches plots instead of the proper 1 square foot they should get and when you add in the ring around.. a total of 52 strawberry plants.
Hopefully we will be able to get the proper strawberry bed done again in the food forest edge and we will be moving over the 30ish from the rings late season 2019 but this works just fine for this season 🙂
But we are not done here yet.. that area of the yard is currently very much sloped and we will be having a load of top soil, we will be planting out a curving bush row that will grow to be a private hedge for the front yard, the rest will be leveled down and turned into my new kitchen garden.
Once the soil arrives and is spread out, the blocks will be at least half or more covered in soil on the sides. This will go a long way to reducing the heat sink the bed will be, which means it will hold more water that way as well.
On a final note, in approx two or three weeks, the main bed plants will have grown up nice and high and we will then bed down the whole top with a thick cover of clean dry straw, not only for water and keeping the soil cooler but also so that the fruit will be resting on clean straw as well.
Photo updates as the work goes in progress.. I know that 52 plants will not meet our strawberry needs for the year but its a start and it will make us more babies for next years crop. The rest will be gotten down the road at the local u-pick.