Questions? Write Me at

Questions? Write me at fullcirclegardener @ cableone . net.

Creating a New Strawberry Bed

 Old (sad) Strawberry Bed and New Strawberry Bed         

Moving our strawberries to a new location has been on my agenda for several years and this spring it has finally happened.  My inspiration/motivating factor was the redwood decking that we salvaged when we replaced our deck last summer.  I am dreaming of several garden 'tools' that I can make with this wood, but the strawberry bed is the first to reach fruition. :)  (I am hoping to get a couple of cold frames made this summer as well, so be watching for that.)

Last fall we sorted through the salvaged wood and pieced together the structure.
The structure of the bed (upside down until soil was added so kids didn't use it as a balance beam).
We cut four 7.5 ft lengths of 2x6 for the bottom tier, 5 ft lengths of 2x4 for the second, and 2.6 ft lengths of 2x4 for the third.  We chose to use 2x6s on the bottom tier and 2x4s for the top two tiers to give the bottom tier a little extra rooting depth before reaching our predominately clay soil.  The top two layers would have each of the layers below it to in addition to it's own so 2x4s should be adequate. The corner supports were cut from 4x4's.  The length of each layer's corner support was the width of it's sidewall plus the sidewalls below it (bottom: 6 inches, middle: 4+6 inches, top: 4+4+6 inches).  Each layer was assembled using 3 inch wood screws to secure the sidewalls to the 4x4 supports.

Once we had determined the location for the new bed, I laid down the bottom tier and covered the existing grass with a layer of cardboard and newspaper.
This layer of dense paper material will breakdown and become compost with time, but will prevent the grass from growing up through the new soil and invading my new bed right away.  Landscaping fabric would work as well, but I wanted to allow for the strawberry roots to penetrate down into the existing topsoil as well so I opted for the layer of cardboard/paper mulch.

Next we determined the alignment of the tiers and then added soil. 
Over the last 7 years I have been working large amounts of organic material into my veggie garden soil.  In the process is has become a raised bed and so I chose to pull soil from my garden to fill the strawberry bed.  My husband tilled a trailer load of aged goat manure & straw bedding, all of the compost we had generated from yard and household plant material over the last year, and some high nitrogen fertilizer (to compensate for the under composted bedding straw) into my garden.  The kids and I then transferred soil into the new strawberry bed (hubby had to go back to work :}).  Great 'physical education' for all of us! ;)

Once the soil is in place, it is time to plant. 
When establishing a new strawberry bed, it is important to start with young, healthy plants.  Either plan ahead and root runners from an existing bed into pots, or purchase plants from a garden center or garden mail order catalog.  If purchasing plants, be sure to select a variety that will be hardy in your zone.  If you question what varieties are good for your area, it is always a good idea to contact your local county extension agent or master gardener.  Plant strawberries so that the roots are entirely covered but the crown in not buried.  It is important to remove all flowers from June-bearing strawberries and from ever-bearing strawberries until the end of July.  This is done to give the plant sufficient time to establish itself before trying to produce fruit.  Be sure to water the strawberries well while they getting established.

Good Luck & Happy Gardening! :)


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