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Early Spring Gardening: Strawberries and Lettuce

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Like most gardeners, I can’t wait for spring. Nothing compares to digging in the moist, warm soil and inhaling the rich, dark aroma of compost after a long winter.

We’ve been considering adding some everbearing strawberries for several years now. We planted June bearers the first time around, but when I moved them to the raised beds under the fruit trees, many of them died out, so I guess someone was telling me it was time to add some new blood.

We chose Ozark Beauty and Quinault. After all, it is better to have a variety of strawberries than to rely on one specific breed. Hopefully if there is ever a crop failure, at least one variety will still produce.

I planted ten plants of each variety on Tuesday, March 15 at the edge of two different raised vegetable beds. As they grow and multiply they will take over the beds, but for now I can plant vegetables such as spinach, onions or borage around them. I am sure there are other good companion plants for strawberries as well.

It is still cool here in Indiana, especially at night, so I mulched the strawberries with a thin layer of straw. This will protect the young shoots from getting frost damage until they adjust to their new home.

 

Yesterday, Wednesday, March 16, I ventured out into the tunnel house to plant about half a flat of Signature Salads Wild Country Mesclun plants that I had been growing indoors under lights. The seed came from Renee’s Garden.

 

I spaced them pretty far apart with the intention of sowing some new seed in between the plants.

 

Before planting them, I harvested the larger leaves and made a nice salad. The leaves were very tender for their large size and were not at all bitter even though they were grown indoors under lights in warm temperatures.

 

The soil temperature here is still a bit cool, around 45 degrees, but it won’t be long before more cool weather plants will be moved into the garden.

 

The tomatoes, eggplants and peppers will be going into the garden, under cover, just as soon as the soil reaches and maintains a 60 degree temperature which I hope will happen by March 20th.

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