Early in the year, I searched the Iowa State University Extension Office website for any information that would help me turn the 200' x 50' plot of land into an enchanting garden. I found helpful articles about what would grow best in our black, yet sandy, soil. Sheets and sheets of information were printed off until my husband and I settled on our three main crops: raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries.
I keep these printouts in a red three-ring binder, along with seed catalog order receipts, a detailed account of every thing I do with our berries, results of self-conducted soil sample tests, and drawings of where certain varieties were planted. Should we luck out and have all sixty-five raspberries bushes thrive, then I want to remember exactly what I did to help that along. The same goes for the thirty-six blueberry bushes and 150 strawberry plants. I'm certain that one day I'll want to look back and see how many pounds of soil acidifier I worked into the blueberry patch, and, should that happen, I'll have the exact information at my finger tips...in the Berry Binder.
|pH test shows need for acidity|
3-15 Plowed up strawberry garden
3-39 Added 15 lbs soil acidifier to prepare soil for blueberries
4-05 Added grass clippings as a mulch to raspberries
5-05 Spread chicken manure on the ever-bearing strawberries
In a few years, my husband and I expect to have a very beautiful berry garden full of yummy fruits and beautiful flowers. It will be a peaceful getaway for visitors who want to enjoy a serene backdrop of grazing horses, sun-bathing hens, and happy song birds. And somewhere along the line, I am certain that somebody will ask me how they can get something like this started. When that happens, I will walk into my little garden shed and return with a gift for them - their own Berry Binder - empty, of course, so they can create their very own dream.