expanded strawberry patch

as of a few days ago i didn't even think i was going to get around to expanding the first strawberry patch, but as it turned out the past few days weather was about perfect for scraping, digging and the forecast for rain tonight, tomorrow, etc. gives the transplants some extra settling in moisture.
which is good because the hoses are now packed away for the season...
the first part of the task involved moving the merry-go-round aside as it was partially in the way. it's a small metal round base with five very small bikes attached to a central stalk (and they are hinged so they can even be folded up if needed, but i'm not sure why). the pedals have long rotted away. the handlebars are also getting a bit rusted and are now being worked on to decorate them and keep them from getting worse -- eventually Ma will paint it, however this is an aside from where i was a moment ago...
having moved the merry-go-round then the next step is to scrape the crushed limestone away from the area and to take up the covering (in this case old chunks of carpeting). scraping the limestone up usually ends up leaving a pile of limestone/dirt/sand leftover which is some- times worth rinsing out and other times is too much bother and so gets buried down deep as fill. in this case the burying down deep option was a good one as the area is low and can flood at times for a bit.
digging down to examine the soil is the other reason to see what's underneath. the area is low enough that it isn't uncommon to hit springs when digging, but i wasn't going down that deep. the top layer of soil was the usual clay with some sand down about a foot and then we hit the lighter colored clay and sand mix. that's the boundary i stop at as it's unlikely any garden plants are putting roots down that deep. and in went the crushed limestone and dirt mix.
on top of that goes a deep layer of any organic stuff i can find (leaves, stuff chopped up or raked up off the gardens that are done for the season, cut down and chopped thorn bush, etc.) this helps add more height and is a long term source of worm food, but mostly it goes in there for the height it adds. some friends brought by seven bags of leaves the other day, all those got used up, today they brought me two dozen more bags of leaves. gonna have to bury those someplace... good exercise, at least when i don't break my shovel handle, we'll see how the glue job holds up next time i have to use it...
then the soil gets put back up on top along with a nice topcoat of soil mixed with partially rotted wood chips and the strawberries get transplanted to give the whole patch some new residents.
had to haul some water to give them a drink and expect a good percentage of the plants to have to struggle because i was not fine tuning each plant. what plants don't make it become mulch or worm food for those around them, i'm not in a spot where i'm short of plants (doesn't hurt to thin out the first strawberry patch at all). about all i'll do now is see how it looks after some rains settle things down and then sprinkle a few pine needles over the plants when it gets colder.
i figure by next spring i'll lose a foot of the height as the leaves and organic materials get compacted from the soil and rains, then over the next few years i'll lose another half foot and then the patch will be ok for a few more years until i have to add some more organic stuff to it and to stir things up and thin out some plants again.
and here i thought it was going to be a quiet week... :)
songbird
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On Tuesday, October 27, 2015 at 7:13:54 PM UTC-5, songbird wrote:

I gave up on strawberries for years because they quickly turn into weed patches. Now I am hopeful that I may be able to grow a few of them in large pots. I'm not sure how well that will work but I'm going to give it a try.
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On 10/31/2015 9:46 AM, Davej wrote:

ago. They produced prolifically. I don't particularly like strawberries but the Missus likes them. I like blackberries, dewberries, etc. much better.
So far this week we've had almost fourteen inches of rain and it's still falling. I think we've had about three feet of rain this year already and there's more coming.
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On 10/31/2015 08:40 AM, George Shirley wrote:

Made me look that one up. I thought you were joking at first, but then found them on Wikipedia. They said they grow in northern clims.
How do you think they would do in Northern Nevada: freezing winters (20 to 30F), hot summers (90-100F), and very low humidity (> 10%), and one particular back thumb wannabe Gardener?
And do the bugs leave them alone?
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On 10/31/2015 4:06 PM, T wrote:

are everywhere. Lived in Maryland and Rhode Island, never saw a dewberry in those. Visits to the upper tier of US didn't allow enough time to look for them. If you like blackberries, you will love dewberries. Do a Google search for dewberries, some plant stores have domesticated them and have them available. Dewberries in our are are the first wild berries to bear, usually in April/May followed by blackberries. Dewberry cobblers, jellies, and jams are to die for.
Never found that many bugs on them, birds get the berries when they can and, therefore, snakes hid in the berries to get the birds. Can scare you bad enough to need to change your drawers. We always carry "snake" sticks, usually an old broom stick, to pick up the vines and check for boogers in the bushes. Small critters like the berries too, from mice up to raccoons. Texas doesn't mow roadsides until after berry season so that people can pick berries along the roadside. Not unusual to see several cars parked where the berries are good.
I don't think they would do well in Northern Nevada at all but I could be wrong, never been there that I remember. As a young sailor in the flying Navy I traveled all over the US and lots of other places but don't remember a Naval Air Station in that part of Nevada. What the heck? Plant some in an area sheltered from the north wind and see what happens. You could be the dewberry king of your area.
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On 10/31/2015 04:29 PM, George Shirley wrote:

I am going to look into it! Thank you!
Fallon (home of Fallon Navel Air Stations) grows world class melons. I can't grow one for my life. They are about 1000 feet lower in elevation though.
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On Saturday, October 31, 2015 at 10:40:54 AM UTC-5, George Shirley wrote:

How does the taste of a dewberry differ from a blackberry?
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On 11/4/2015 9:04 PM, Davej wrote:

the first wild berries to bloom and bear in the spring. Used to pick wild huckle berries in the woods on my folks property when I was a small boy (many, many moons ago). Haven't seen any since then in the wild. Probably somewhere deep in the woods of SE Texas there are still some.
We harvested every wild berry or fruit we found back then. Persimmons, wild grapes, muscadines, you name it. That's when I learned to preserve the goodies in jars, still do that, have at least ten cases of fruit jars, mostly empty now but when spring comes again we will be picking the wild berries and turning them into jams, jellies, pie fillings, some frozen for cobblers. We even ran upon pears and plums in the woods where an old homestead had once stood. This is a great website for home food preserving: http://nchfp.uga.edu/
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Davej wrote: ...

depends upon the garden location, but i've yet to see any garden that didn't need some weeding. the expansion patch is surrounded by crushed rinsed limestone so it doesn't get that many weeds in it.
in planters they'll need fairly regular watering during dry spells, especially during flowering and fruiting.
after a few years a strawberry patch should be replanted/renovated anyways.
some folks use weed barrier fabric or black plastic to keep the weeds down, but i've not done that here as i'm letting most of my patches wander around as gardens go through planting rotations.
songbird
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On Sunday, November 1, 2015 at 9:25:17 AM UTC-6, songbird wrote:

Here the grass gets out of control easily, but in pots of very loose, rich soil I could keep the plants weeded and route the strawberry runners to new pots. I would probably need to set the pots into pans of water. Also I need to find something to scare the deer away. They are becoming a serious problem even close to the house.
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