Salvaging the fruit patch!

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The aftermath of the gas works
The aftermath of the gas works

This is what we were left with after the gas company left. You can see the before here. The blueberry was ‘re-planted’ in the middle space, a good 5cm above the soil level. The strawberries were left on the lawn and on the raspberries, and the goosberry was ‘re-planted’ above the soil level as well. I decided to use the disruption to re-haul the patch.

The raspberries are autumn fruiting so now was the time for hard pruning. I tried to salvage what I could of the alpine strawberries first. I posted about that here. I’ve now separated and potted 2/3rds of the alpine strawberries, they are surviving well and I have re-homed a dozen but am still over whelmed. Think the other third may end up composted, though I struggle to come to terms with ‘dumping’ them. It’s the problem with thinning carrots all over again. I started to do the same with the normal strawberries but quickly ran out of pots and was overwhelmed again. I was a bit more ruthless and just threw all the excess plants in a bucket, if they survive and I can replant them great.

The plan for the fruit patch was to pull up all the strawberry plants, put down weed proof fabric then replant strawberries and keep control over the spread. The reasons for weedproof fabric were:

1) Keep strawberries off the soil.

2) Keep the strawberries and raspberries from taking over the whole patch and choking the berry bushes.

3) Possibly help the soil warm up and dry a bit, very heavy clay soil

4) Keep the weeds down.

Just to clear the strip between the red and white currant bushes I filled an entire wheelbarrow with strawberry plants. I pulled a fair few raspberries too, those are tough. We’re going to leave the left hand side of the fruit patch to the raspberries. Faced with a wheel barrow full of strawberries I started on the strip of the garden on the right hand side. Took the top layer of ‘turf’ off – more weeds than grass, and dug it over. Our garden is slanted right to left and back to front. We are attempting to level it so the hubby made up a barrier and I filled the soil to it. I’ve dug what will be a strawberry patch so far. Hopefully by next weekend I will have dug the entire strip and levelled it. Then the strawberries can go in, may need a normal strawberry patch and an alpine strawberry patch, and I can start looking at all the things I want to grow from seed as the greenhouse will be empty. I got a subscription to Kitchen Garden from the MIL for my birthday and they keep sending seeds. Itching to get growing.

The other ‘bed’/greenhouse plot at the back of the garden is also coming along. I’ve started digging off the stop layer which still has lots of gravel. Then I will dig out the really heavy clay, replace with some of the soil from levelling out the long strip and work on planting that too. Lots going on right now, and being out working in the garden feels so right. Had a tough week or so with the mental health, a post for later in the week I think. Saturday I just didn’t know what to do with myself so I went out and dug. The anxiety just leaves, and the thoughts go away. I really do wish I could spend more time outside, it doesn’t even matter if it is raining or how cold it is. I layer up, put the waterproofs on and get to it, finish up fairly soaked in sweat and exhausted but feeling better for it. It’s a good job we don’t have a light out there or I’d be there now!

Leave you with a picture of the finished article. Think the fruit patch is salvaged now, at least as long as I haven’t killed all the bushes by digging near them!

Salvaged fruit patch
Salvaged fruit patch
Soon to be strawberry bed
Soon to be strawberry bed



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