Friday, March 2, 2012

Strawberry Pyramids...Or, When Life Hands You Time, Use It To Your Advantage

My friend LisaB called me a tease for showing you pictures yesterday without explaining what we were doing.  Well, here's what we were doing...building strawberry pyramids!

Shane had seen some similar round "pyramids" or "fountains" for berries, but they didn't look very sturdy, so when I saw the post about wood pyramids at Hillbilly Mom, I passed that post on to him.

The basic idea is to build a large open box or frame, fill it with soil, top it with a smaller frame with extended corners and fill that one with soil, and so on.  It's easy, but maybe not as simple as you might think.  If you decide to make one, I recommend looking it up online for exact dimensions, or at the very least, working it out on paper before you start cutting lumber.  Don't forget to take into account the width of your boards.  In our case that was 1-1/2", and although it wouldn't seem like it, it can make a world of difference.  Shane did ours in his head, and they aren't without flaws, but if there is enough interest, I might be able to talk him into writing up a set of plans.

This ended up being a family project over the course of two afternoons.  Kat did a lot of measuring and marking on the first pyramid.  Shane did all the cutting, attaching (he used screws rather than nails) and wheel-barrowing of soil.  I did all of the transplanting from our small temporary strawberry bed I built last year.  We had enough plants to fill one bed and the bottom tier of the second, so we'll have to buy a few more.  I ran out of daylight for picture taking yesterday, which is why these look so overcast compared to the other pics.  (BTW, it was 71° yesterday, and this morning as I type this, we're getting a rain/snow mix.)

I think we are going to build at least one more of these to turn into a "salad garden".  Can you imagine how pretty it would be with radishes, carrots, green onions and different kinds/colors of lettuces in each compartment, with either a tomato or a big pepper plant on the top?  I think it will look really sharp.

Some of you might be wondering why Shane was able to work on these during the week.  That's because he's been laid off.  It's not a "the company's doing under and we can't keep you" sort of lay-off.  It's the "we've got several projects and we're just waiting for them to start up" kind of  deal.  We expect it to last for two or three weeks.

While there's never a GOOD time to be laid off, right now is probably as good as it gets.  We have enough savings to see us through and the weather is fine, overall, for getting things done outside, from clean-up, to bed-building, to seed-sowing.  In spring, time is at a premium, so for Shane to have time right now is something of a gift, regardless of the lack of pay.

It's also going to coincide with Kat's spring break, which is week after next, so we might be able to "vacate" for a day or two if we can decide where we want to go. We could even hitch up the camper, if the weather is nice enough that week.
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