Sunday, May 19, 2013

Berries

Strawberries.
Boysenberries.
Raspberries.
Blueberries.

My four berry varieties! 

Strawberries: A few berries a day are ripe, but I am fighting a battle against the pill bug brigade.  Each night they eat more and more of ripe berries, then burrow into the soil beneath it.  So far I scoop them out, but I am going to have to resort to "pill bug bait." 

pill bug damage - they end up finishing the entire berry
A popular gardening blog had a feature on strawberries lately.  The writer was planting a hanging basket of strawberries, and recommended June bearers, because they "don't put out as many runners."  Well, that is just not true!  She got it completely backwards, but since it is such a popular blog, readers will be very disappointed.  June bearers are the ones that put out many, many runners.  That is why my original 20 or so plants are not a 4 x 8 bed of 50, with 12-15 off the deck, and countless others given away.  I lopped off runners just the other day, but they seem to replace themselves like Medusa's hair.

runners a few days after pruning

as you see, they are a bit too big for hanging planters!
some of last year's runners or daughter plants - they will fruit next year
The berries are larger than last year, their first crop since I bought them.  (Craigslist!)


Blueberries:  Blueberries are something I have never grown before, so the whole process, flowering, setting fruit, etc. was a complete mystery.  I expected them to form inside the little cups, but instead the outer cup part becomes the berry.  For such little bushes I think the harvest will be quite big.  The plants look much better than I expect them to also.  I did buy special acid-lovers soil, and I feed them acid-lovers food.  I got four of the five plants on Craigslist, the other is a different variety for pollination from a nursery.

Draper blueberry

Raspberries: Well, I only have one raspberry plant, a Meeker.  But, it is growing by leaps and bounds!  I was planning on getting more and building a bed, but then got the boysenberry starts instead.  I bought this at The Grange, no Craigslist here!  Although I have successfully avoided temptation, in that I have had many opportunities to get them there!  I may do that next year, the golden ones sound good!

Boysenberries: I am really excited about these berries!  I know they won't fruit this year, since these canes now growing are primocanes, the first year canes.  Next year though, I should have a wonderful harvest!  All of the "sticks" grew well, and a few are climbing the trellis by themselves.  A few have their vines going the wrong way, but I'll soon sort that out for them!  They are visibly bigger day to day.  These were free off Craigslist!  They may be Tayberries, but Boysenberries (blackberry, raspberry, loganberry cross) and Tayberries (blackberry, raspberry cross)  are basically the same thing. 

boysenberry primocane starting up trellis

All my berries are in planters or raised beds.  As mentioned before, my soil is clay and unsuitable for planting anything directly into it.  Also, even with amendments, it is soggy in the winter, and much of it is under a few inches of water.  Berries grow fine in raised beds and planters.  In fact, many of them prefer it, so long as you use special soil for berries.  This is vitally important for blueberries. 

I discovered something interesting about lettuce, and nasturtiums.  They seem to love acidic soil.  I sowed some mixed lettuce seeds and nasturtiums in the boysenberry containers, with great success.



Pretty flower of the day... newly unfurled Sunset rockrose. 




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