Like some of you out there have reported, I too have had a great deal of difficulty getting my strawberry plant orders in. Finally, after placing 3 orders with 3 companies, 2 of them came in. What is funny, is that the only one I didn't have problems with was Jung's. I ordered from them last of all and got theirs first.
Gurney's came in second with only one delay. My Park Seed order, placed in January, still hasn't come and no notification has ever been given, only reluctantly admitted when badgered by phone.
But anyway, I'm now the proud mama of 75 Strawberry plants and I immediately set to work getting them in the ground.
Now, that strawberry patch may not look impressive to you, but to me it is a joy to behold. Why? Because that piece of ground is a nightmare! Truly. That little tree you see is actually the 4th one of it's kind to be there. The previous three have died there. My house isn't even 4 years old so this is worriesome.
The matching one on the other side is hale and hearty. It is only in this patch of dirt we have problems.
I finally figured it out though and now have high hopes. It turns out this little 6 foot by 12 foot patch of ground had several problems: poor drainage and fill dirt hidden underneath being the main culprits.
So, this past weekend I dug it out. I mean...dug. Pulling out all the house building debris that construction workers had hidden underneath the pretty layer of dirt and sod they put down afterwards, digging up the dead tree, freaking out over a great many worms and bugs, pulling up every blade of runnered grass and weed was the first half. I then filled it back up with a lovely compost and topsoil mixture and added 6 inches in height for drainage. I bordered it with those blocks and then planted my tree and strawberries.
What amazed me was that those little leafless bundles of roots put out leaves in less than 24 hours. Amazing!
Oh, and those 3 in front are testers. I went ahead and bought 3 of those $2.98 each strawberry plants from Lowe's to see if there really was a difference in the plants by the time for bearing comes. We'll see!
And for my big news...drumroll...I finally bought an Excalibur Dehydrator! I got the 9 tray, 3900 Model, which is my heart's desire! This month, till today actually, they had a pretty amazing special going with 50 bucks off the price plus a whole lot of accessories and free shipping. They are a significant investment, I know, but using the WalMart Nesco special last year for the first time showed me the value of a good dehydrator.
For me, it is really important to Store what I Grow and Eat what I Store! In short, no waste if possible. Freezing stuff is fine, I suppose, but it uses a lot of energy. Dehydrated stuff is no fuss, no muss and isn't going to spoil when I lose power in storms. Plus it keeps nutrition really well and seriously, who doesn't love home-made jerky or fruit wraps?
I'm very excited to get it and can't wait to start the production going for this year!