Thursday, August 2, 2012

'Fall is in the air!' and berry ramblings

The fireweed is almost done flowering.  Some birch trees are already turning yellow.  Birds have started migrating south.  And we are down to 18 hours of sunlight.  What else is there to signal fall?

Not so fast you say?  Okay, but termination dust (the first snowfall) is only 7 weeks away.

Walking around the farm this evening I saw some red, yellow, and black raspberries that were very near ripe.  Monday evening I picked a couple of cups of serviceberries to make into a pie.  Can't wait for that!

I am pondering what to do about my raspberry, blackberry, and strawberry patches.  I started out with the intention of having a "test" plot for each one, but around here where things start is where they usually end up.  So, I am not sure if I should continue with test plots or just make room for the entire patch.  My other problem with test plots is that most varieties end up making it through the winter.  Now I have every variety of raspberry that I planted last year and more.  Many are fruiting, as well.  I now have 3 of this, 6 of that, 9 of another.  Not enough to sell.  That takes 100's of feet of bushes - preferably of just a few varieties.  But which ones to choose?  Do I go with marginally hardy ones, like Cascade Delight (that taste very good) and Cumberland (a nice black raspberry), or go with the tried and true for the area (and not necessarily favorites of mine) Boyne, Latham, and Honey Queen?  I tend to go for ones that are less available, and that goes for vegetables, too.  Heck, I still think I'll get grapes to ripen up here even though every climate indicator says I won't.  I'll just talk to them everyday and play soft music - that'll work, won't it?

As far as strawberries go, I even ignored my Quinaults all last summer and this summer, but they are still there.  Now I have Tristars and Heckers (which are very good, no matter what everyone else says), as well, and Fort Laramies are already on order for next spring.

Blackberries?  Yes, I had two varieties (Arapaho and Ebony King) overwinter in pots - albeit with significant root damage from dehydration and cane damage from moose and voles.  This summer the blackberry selection has grown to include another eleven varieties.  Some of these definitely won't survive the winter, but I like to experiment.

All this contemplation has made me tired.  Besides, nothing more can go in the ground before I get the stumps out of the way.  Better go get some sleep.  It's going to be a long fall, I can feel it!

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