Tasted the first Prelude red raspberry today. Quite tasty, indeed. Prelude is a very early season raspberry in the Lower 48 and it appears to be early here, as well. Boyne and Cascade Delight are probably a week or two away from ripening. They and the other berries are about two weeks behind this year due to our cool and rainy (another inch Friday and Saturday) summer. As of the end of July, we had only accumulated 450 growing degree days (base 50 F). This is about 100 less than we usually have by the end of July and about 250 behind last year. Unfortunately, our frequent heavy rains and cool temperatures have also upset pollination. Several early flowering berry varieties have very poor fruit set this summer. Cascade Delight has some developing berries, but many of the flowers didn't pollinate. Boyne suffered similarly. Other varieties that flowered a week or two later (Willamette, Meeker, Cumberland black raspberry) have very good fruit set.
Similar problems with fruit set seem to have affected the blackberries, but we are not sure if that was partly due to the application of diatomaceous earth we used to get rid of Lygus bugs that were eating the blackberry flowers. Bees avoid diatomaceous earth. Anyway, we found a Wild Treasure blackberry starting to turn red today. By next weekend it should be turning black! And several berries on a Siskiyou blackberry have swelled to full size. I think we'll start seeing lots of red and black (and yellow) in the coming days!!! My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Who knows, maybe next year we can enter some blackberries in the Tanana Valley Fair. That would be awesome!
Other fruits that are just now ripening include honeyberries and strawberries. Tasted the first Blue Belle honeyberry on Saturday. Very soft, but oh so tasty! The Hood strawberries are also tasty. Unfortunately, we don't have enough of either of these to share this year. And if Chica keeps raiding the raspberries, they may be a little hard to come by, as well. I caught her eyeing the Preludes yesterday. She has acquired a taste for them. I've considered planting a patch for her.
We have some spinach and leaf lettuce that we will start selling at the gravel pit at Jennifer Dr. and Murphy Dome Rd. The time has not been set yet however, because my day job work schedule is not as flexible as it was last summer. We will probably try to be there on Saturday evenings. Not ideal by any means, but it will have to do. We will post again before our first day.
I'll leave you with a picture of our Anthony Waterer Spirea that is now in bloom. Gorgeous color!