Strawberry beds & sun

March 31st was major:

the first day this year without rain in the ten-day forecast.

It felt … joyous. Overwhelming. Glorious. California’s been in a hard drought, and we need the rain …

… and yet. I go for a walk in the morning and it is just so amazing to be outside and not get wet.

Rainfall this year has been way above average, and way way above the last couple of years. And the numbers don’t really get at how it feels. If I remember 2020 as the year of the pandemic, and 2021 as the year of changing teams at work and finally starting to heal professionally, and 2022 as ‘wait maybe normal is possible?!’ then 2023 is likely to go down in memory as the year it rained.

And all that rain … how does this relate to strawberries?

Usually, by now I’d have weeded and pruned and fixed up the sprinkler system. This year – no. The garden is overgrown. Rain + clay soil = impractical to do much of anything. I didn’t prune the fruit trees, I didn’t set up the vegetable beds for spring planting, the paths are covered in three-foot-high non-native grasses, almost anything could be going on with the sprinkler system (who knows? it’s overgrown), blackberry vines are taking over, and there are gopher holes everywhere.

So I look at the garden, and I’m like, huh, that’s a lot, and then I step quietly back from all that and go do something else that seems less intimidating.

But recently… things have been drying out. A little bit. Kind of.

And I thought, just one thing.

So I weeded and set up the strawberry bed (around here, strawberries are perennial. I only learned from books that in many places, strawberries are not perennial. Which kind of calls into question the whole perennial-annual divide, doesn’t it, but anyway….).

Here’s a before and after:

Strawberry bed before cleanup
Strawberry bed after cleanup

Weeds have been removed. The stone pathway has been reset (and I filled in the miniature sinkholes caused by the gophers; we hired a deal-with-the-gophers company, and there are also a lot of gopher traps now distributed through the yard, sigh). I divided a couple of the strawberry plants that seemed too crowded, and replanted them. I checked out the sprinkler lines, and magic! they are OK, and I’ve got them running two days a week.

So. Just one thing. It’s a start!

This weekend … maybe herbs in the next bed over.

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