Four Year Old Strawberry Bed
My garden is an experiment to prove to myself that it’s possible to maintain a large organic vegetable growing area using all hand labor and with a minimum of outside inputs. Weed control is the toughest part, and not having or taking enough time to do a good job of preventative weeding often leaves me with some labor intensive weeding chores.
This partly weeded bed was planted with strawberries in 2007. I normally clean out the berry beds and move any young berry plants into a new bed after three years, but that didn’t happen. As old strawberry beds are the hardest of all to weed, and get my least attention, this four year old bed was mainly a mix of dandelion, quack grass, creeping charlie, and chickweed. I did unearth a few dozen young berry plants that were saved to be to be transplanted into a new bed.
To make weeding the bed as complete and as painless as possible, I first used the broadfork to break the soil. It’s much faster and easier than trying to use a garden fork. It penetrates deeper and moves a lot of soil with each bite. After loosening the roots with the broadfork, it was down to my hands and knees to pull out the loosened weeds with my CobraHead Weeder. I occasionally had to use the border fork to extract dandelion taproots that hadn’t been freed by the broadfork.
Ready for Planting
I used the kama to clean the grass edge border. I re-shaped the flattened bed using a steel rake, my trusty old five-tined cultivating hoe, and a scoop shovel. This ready to plant bed represents about six hours work and is definitely the physically hardest thing I will have to do in the garden, this year.