Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Before and After: The New Strawberry Patch

Peach tree in my front yard before the addition of the strawberry
bed underneath it.

Peach tree in my front yard after the addition of the strawberry bed
underneath it. 

A close up on one of  the strawberry plants
My husband asked me to plant something under the peach tree so that he would not have to mow under the low-hanging limbs. I pondered it since last year and asked some other gardeners. I finally decided that a strawberry bed would be a nice addition.

I bought fifty strawberry plants from Pinetree Seeds.* They came last week, so I worked (and worked and worked) on the weeds in order to create a bed for them. I am not the greatest at circular math, so I cut 2 strings, one eight inches long and the other eighteen inches long. The eight inch long one was used to measure between plants and the 18 inch long one was used to measure between rows. I did one row at a time, planting the plants in that row, because I couldn't figure out on paper the exact amount of weeds I would have to pull. I would lay the 18 inch piece on the last row and the put the 8 inch piece to the side of the last plant I had planted. Then I would know where to plant the next one. It ended up looking circular, with 3 circular rows, so I guess it worked.

In case you weren't aware, planting under a tree is harder than planting in open soil. First, you can't stand up. Second, you can't just use a shovel or you will damage the tree. Third, you can't just dump a pile of dirt over the top and create a raised bed or you will damage the tree by burying it too deep.

So, I crawled around on my hands and knees for hours at a time, digging with a trowel to prepare the bed. (Oh, my back!)

The plants came looking like dead little thing with long roots. But after one watering they greened up like you see in the above photo.

It was a lot of work, more than I actually anticipated, but I am really happy with the result.

I am going to mulch with pine bark, add some round pavers to be able to reach the peaches, and edge it with some nice concrete edging. It is in the front yard, so I want it to look as nice as possible.

*(The link to Pinetree Seeds is not affiliate. I just liked their products and have been very happy with them as a company. I plan to shop with them again.)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Happy International Pi Day!

Pi(e) are square!

March 14 is International Pi Day (3.14, get it?)

This year, I taught the kids about circle math terms (circumference, diameter, radius and area). I taught them the symbol of pi. I showed them how to measure around any circular object, then cut the yarn into approximate thirds. Then I showed them how this always makes the diameter.

We talked about how the number of pi is a constant in mathematical problems, and talked a little about "Area equals pi r squared."

And I made my grandmother's secret homemade caramel pie recipe.

Pie. It makes anything a good day. :)

And you have to have a round one, since pi is about circles, right?