This winter I have decided to build a dry weather strawberry hill. I have ordered 75 ever-bearing strawberry plants for spring delivery.
Due to the extreme dryness and heat of the last 2 summers, I have lost most of the plants in my previous strawberry hill even though I watered them daily. A summer without fresh strawberries is unthinkable.
I believe I have found a solution to the problem in an experiment I did in my main garden last summer. It is a method called “hugelkultur”. I’m not sure who originated the idea but it works really well in dry weather. The idea behind this method is, basically, to bury decomposing wood underneath your plants and the wood will hold moisture and release nutrients into the soil as it decomposes.
Last summer I had 2 rows in my main garden in which I used this method. I only had to water these 2 rows 4 or 5 times all summer. They were the only 2 rows that had healthy plants that produced well while the other plants in my garden were barely surviving and producing nothing even with frequent watering. Needless to say, I will use this method for the entire garden this year.
I started by digging a ditch about 2 feet deep and filling it rotting wood that I gathered from the woods around the property. I heaped the wood about a foot above ground level and covered with about a foot of soil. This gives me a strawberry hill that is about 2 feet high and 20 feet long.
I can plant on the top and both slopes of this hill and, hopefully, have a thriving dry weather strawberry hill to enjoy that will produce plenty strawberries for us to preserve and enjoy fresh.