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Mulching the Strawberry Patch

January 10th, 2009

This spring we put in two 4×10 foot raised beds filled with 3 different kinds of strawberries. We planted early, mid, and late bearing plants, that way we have strawberries for a longer period of time. Since this was our first summer with plants, we didn’t get any strawberries. I faithfully picked off the blooms when I saw them, hoping for a great crop this year.
strawberry-label-1strawberry-label-3strawberry-label-2
Strawberries like acidic soil, so when we built the raised beds we added extra peat moss to the soil mix. I tested the ph and it was perfect for strawberries. I’ve read several placed that strawberries should be mulched in the winter to protect the crowns (especially here in Ohio where we have fairly cold winters). I was planning on using straw, but then I decided the pine needles would work better.
raking-pine-needles1
They have less of a tendency to attract slugs and they are acidic so they will help maintain a proper ph in the strawberry bed. Since we don’t have any pine trees on our property, we loaded a few tubs into the car and headed down to the walking path in our neighborhood. It’s under canopy of huge white pine trees, so there were plenty of pine needles for us to rake up, and the best part is that they’re FREE!
raking-pine-needles-2
bins-in-back-of-car
We spent a 15 minutes raking up a few bins full of mulch and then headed home. We had to make 2 trips but we were able to get enough mulch for our 2 strawberry beds and our 6 blueberry bushes (which also like acidic soil).
mulching-strawberries
strawberry-in-pine-needles
blueberries-with-pine-straw
The mulch not only helps protect the plants and improves the soil, but it makes the beds look much nicer as well. In the spring we’ll scrape off most of the mulch and it will go in the compost pile to finish decomposing.
strawberry-bed
Do any of you have any other great ideas for free mulch?

9 Comments to “Mulching the Strawberry Patch”
  1. Squawkfox on January 10, 2009 at 10:54 am

    I love your photos. I don’t have any ideas for mulch (we’re covered in 3 feet of snow right now…so my garden is a distant memory). LOL

    Before winter we did fertilize our garden soil. Living on a farm, we have lots of access to “natural fertilizer.” ;)

    Reply to Squawkfox's comment

  2. N. on January 10, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    Some cities will offer it for free and people will sometimes offer that, compost, and manure free on Craigslist. This Spring I want to make a trellis out of fallen branches. I’m going to go to the nearest state park to get all the fallen wood I could ever need.

    Reply to N.'s comment

  3. Susy on January 10, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    I would love to build a fence from saplings, but I’m afraid it would be too much work. I think I’m just going to borrow my parents electric fence this year. Perhaps I can try building a panel to see how much work it is.

    Reply to Susy's comment

  4. Frugal Trenches on January 10, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    Oh how I wish I could help :0)

    Reply to Frugal Trenches's comment

  5. Melisa on March 9, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    I know this is an old post but tree companies are a great source for mulch, they chip a lot of the branches they cut off and will often give it to you for free or at a very reduced rate!

    Reply to Melisa's comment

  6. Mary Beheler on April 4, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    Around here, West Virginia, they urge people to not take wood into or from State Parks. Something about spreading a nasty beetle.

    Reply to Mary Beheler's comment

  7. Margaret on July 30, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    I have plenty of pine straw on my property and plan to use it with my strawberries and blueberries this year. My neighbor is having some pine trees removed. The company she uses chips it up. Is it okay to use the chipped pine trees for mulch?

    Reply to Margaret's comment

    • Susy on July 31, 2013 at 8:35 pm

      I’d let it compost a bit first, the clippings can cause issues with nitrogen. You can put them in a pile and then use them in a year though, they’d be perfect then.

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • Margaret on August 1, 2013 at 1:09 am

        Thank you. I’m glad I asked first.

        to Margaret's comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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