Sunday, November 25, 2012

Blanket for the Berries

There have been several of my blogging buddies that have posted about having to put their strawberry plants to bed for the winter.  This was our first year raising them so I'm a bit behind not only in the learning curve, but the tucking-in of our berries.  Which I only did because everyone else was doing it.

I quickly looked up wintering strawberries on the internet and one place said not to mulch until there were several hard freezes and after the plants went dormant.  Well, my plants were still nice & green, but we've had temps in the lower 30's for a solid week so I figured I may as well do it now before it got pushed all the way down on the get-to-it list.

So, what to mulch with?  Pine needles?  I wish.  We don't have a single pine tree on our property nor any nearby which I might rake up fallen needles from.  Straw?  Sorry, but I'm not paying six bucks a bale for straw.  Wasted hay?  No way!  I used wasted hay in the berry garden one year and I was pulling grass weeds throughout the entire growing season.  Didn't quite think that one through.  

So I look around and used what I have a ton of right now:

Leaves!  Tons and tons of leaves.  I didn't even have to walk more than fifteen feet from the garden to rake up enough to cover the beds.  I probably should have sucked them up with the leaf blower/chipper as to create a finer leaf-mulch but it was getting dark and I was running out of time.

So my first strawberry bed is finally tucked in for the winter.  

And now I've got mulch on the brain.  Since I've got to do something with all these stinking leaves around the house, I think I will I'll have Paul pull the leaf blower/chipper out of the shed so I can put a nice layer of mulched leaves in the gardens.  


  1. Shoot, we don't even have leaves to use as mulch! :(
    Our winters are so mild that I just keep watering my strawberries and they never go dormant. Not sure if that's good or not...

  2. I cover all my perrineal and veggie beds with leaves too. We have a HUGE maple tree in our back yard. The rest go into the compost pile. They break down nicely!

  3. I was going to buy a new bale of straw to put mine to bed. It's our first year too. I think it was mama pea who first mentioned doing that. I would've done nothing to mine so I'm glad you both posted, I am going to go put leaves on mine right now ☺

  4. I read somewhere that decomposing leaves suck some of the nutrients out of the soil - I have no idea if it is correct or not. I do know that rotting leaves will attract worms, a good thing in my book.

    I use waste hay and goat poo to cover my strawberries. Yes we have weeds, but if they get too bad I just add more poo in the summer and smother the weeds!

  5. I've been using our leaves here too this year.

  6. We don't have a strawberry bed, but when the leaves fall on the garden we leave them there. They decompose over the winter and get tilled come spring. Our garden soil seems to be better for it. Thanks Mother Nature.

  7. Good for you! I use whatever I have. I ran out of straw, so ended up mulching my lingonberries with leaves.