Saturday, July 18, 2015

Blackberries are ripening!

We have 12 terraces in - about 1/4 of the total amount and have started planting on them.  It has been raining today (finally!) and put a damper on our planting plans, but hopefully we can continue tomorrow.  There are 260 Duchess de Nemours peonies that need to be planted immediately.  We have three 50 ft. rows of raspberries in.  Peonies and Wild Treasure blackberries are next.

In the bramblery, Wild Treasure and Silvan are nearing harvest time.  We played around with covering them with row cover this summer and, with the help of a warm May and June, have hastened ripening by about 3 or 4 weeks.  In fact, the first Silvan berry has already turned purple.  This is very early considering that last year Silvan flowered on July 15th.  Wild Treasure flowered 8 days earlier this year than last and by July 15th over 60 flowers had already bloomed - compared to 14 last year.  There would have been more flowers, but last fall was tough on the blackberries with little snow cover until early November.  Consequently, only about 20% of last year's growth on Wild Treasure survived the winter.  Marion isn't doing too bad this year either.  From a 3 ft long cane and two bottom laterals, it has produced several dozen flowers, many of which are still waiting to flower.  We should get some berries off of it, but not sure what the final count will be.

Many of the grapevines have resprouted from the roots and it looks like not too many were lost.  However, again this summer it appears there won't be enough time to plant them on the terraces as we still have quite a bit of earthwork to do before their space is ready.  We have decided to try putting in a pond at the bottom of the lot to provide water during the dry months of May and June.  With several thousand plants in the ground, the demand for water will dramatically increase.

We are also considering putting in a food forest to the west of the house.  The area is currently covered in poplar saplings and high bush cranberries.  We hope to put in fruit and nut trees and serviceberries amongst the cranberries.  However, this area won't be terraced in the traditional way, so it remains to be seen how we will provide water.  Stay tuned.

Wild Treasure and Silvan blackberries:

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