Growing and Picking Berries

| 7/6/2016 12:13:00 PM

Of Mice and Mountain MenOne of my favorite parts of late spring and summer has become the ripening of berries. We've had a mix of blueberry varieties and a small bed of strawberries for several years.

I got just a handful of black raspberries from the two canes that were mature this year. I've planted several more plants and look for a better crop of these next year.

The strawberries have run their course for this year, they were sweet and juicy. The early blueberries started ripening just as the strawberries were fizzling out. The mid-season blueberries are going great guns now.

Blueberry Bushes

By great guns I mean that I'm getting a pint of berries every other day. We keep a two pint box of mixed berries in the fridge. I fill that up each harvest day, any excess goes to the freezer. To most people that's not a lot. For the two of us that's plenty for us to enjoy fresh berries every day and still have some to freeze for use this winter. We do not do jams and jellies.

Watering Berries

This spring I planted more black raspberries, some red raspberries and some boysenberries. Most of these are … surviving. It's been a dry year. I've been watering, but that never does the plants as much good as rain. I don't water new plants too much after they've started growing because I want them to put down deep roots. Pamper them and they won't.

7/9/2016 11:28:35 PM

You are doing great. There are several things you can do to extend your harvest season. Add fall bearing raspberries. They can also have a small to moderate spring harvest if you cut the first year canes which fruit in the summer/fall back 2/3 to 1/2 their length below where thy have fruited. About this time of year the first year canes start to flower and I cut out the second year canes and tie up the first yer canes. There are day neutral strawberries that can produce a second flush of berries but I prefer the small alpine strawberries. These produce a crop every week from spring to fall. The berries are small compared to the June bearing berries but the total flavor exceeds that of the larger berry. They produce the largest berries for me in soil spaces in a rock wall that is well watered and only gets about 3 hours of direct sun. Here in western Washington I also have several native berries that I am gradually developing into harvestable rows. then I have the endemic Hymalayan blackberries which I have trained so that I can hang a 3 gallon bucket from my belt and fill it in a half hour or less. Combined with summer apples I make juice for winter parties and the pulp after the seeds are removed is my winter fruit staple ether jarred or frozen.

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