Sunday, September 19, 2010

My Pie, Juice and Jam Garden Collection


I have backlinked to my previous posts about the berries discussed here and to other sites with information.

Last fall I started a garden mainly for pie and wine berries and fruits. Knowing that most berry bushes take about three years before they start to produce, I looked around for something faster. I found the chichiquelites (garden huckleberries) and ground cherries (cape gooseberries). These are quick growing annuals, going from seed to berry in one season. These were great this year and we had a bumper crop. I have these seeds for sale on our new farm site, if anyone is interested.

This summer I began collecting other types of fruits and berries for later production.

Also fast producers are strawberries and rhubarb. Both are "next year" producers. We like plain rhubarb pie, but strawberry rhubarb is good too. Strawberry freezer jam is fabulous!

If you plant some strawberry babies now you'll get a few berries in the spring. You will also get all the plants you could possibly want in the form of runners by fall for producing berries the following year! They reproduce at an astounding rate! If you want the large berries like the ones you buy, plant June bearing. The everbearing ones are here and there and smaller.

I planted three 20' rows of strawberry babies this past spring. I had the plants, so I put them all in. Some I got in a trade and the rest I got from cleaning out my MIL's garden. I'm overwhelmed at the invasively growing strawberry bed now! It's taking over the entire garden and the runners are so thick, I'm going to have to clean them out next week! I'm turning them back as they try to grow out into the field and lawn. I don't know how we are going to pick berries in that next year!

If you plant some rhubarb now, you'll get some big enough for small cuttings next year. I got several pies from just two large plants this year, so I planted an entire 20' row of rhubarb roots in July. It's growing well and I might get a small cutting from them before the frost takes it all. It's a lot of rhubarb, I know, but I had the roots from cleaning out my MIL's, so I planted them. I can always sell the extra stalks and give some to the Salvation Army Soup Kitchen in town.


I think, sometimes, I tend to overwhelm the Salvation Army Soup Kitchen with produce. I don't know what they did with the boxes of zucchini I gave them this year. I think I'll plant less next year, but I always say that...

This is the row of rhubarb that I planted this summer. It's planted right against the green onions at the other end and the basil at this end, since both of those will be gone next year. It goes all the way down behind the onions.


One of the most interesting berries I planted this year is the 'Haskap' honeyberry "Borealis'. They were recently developed by the Univ of Saskatchewan. Here is information about them. My Haskap berry bush baby was a gift from Mike and Joyce, followers and friends who lives sort of nearby. They came for a visit one day and brought it with them. (Thank you Mike and Joyce!) I only have the one of that variety so it gets special attention!

You need two different varieties of Haskap honeyberries to get the large berries which are very similar to blueberries, or so I have read. I have since received some honeyberry seeds for 'Borealis' and 'Bluebell' varieties in a trade from a freind, Evelyn in Alberta (who also sent the Saskatoon berry bush mentioned below. Thank you Evelyn!). I have the honeyberry seeds sprouted and growing in the kitchen. The seedlings are tiny now and I think I will keep them indoors under lights for the winter this year. I don't know if that's a good idea or not. Perhaps I will plant a few of them in the garden and keep a few indoors, just to be safe.
I realize that they are hybrids and probably won't all breed true to the parents. It's ok. I like experimental gardening!

I also received three salal bushes a short time ago from Michelle in BC at "My Green Thumb" (Thank you Michelle!) who also sent me some delicious salal jelly she made and loganberry seeds, which are now planted indoors but not up yet. I may need to winter sow those. The salal jelly tastes surprisingly like grape, with lots of flavour!

The salal bushes arrived green and in good shape, all the way from the west coast! They died back some after planting but are still green at the base, so hopefully they will come back next spring and grow. They came in the mail all the way from BC, so they can't be blamed for dying back a bit, poor things!


Another unusual bush I received, from Eveylyn (above), is a Saskatoon bush (also called serviceberry) which is doing very well and has grown some throughout the summer. It is even spreading! These berries have all the antioxidant properties of blueberries. Here's the info about them. Scroll down to the "Nutrient and Potential Health Benefits" section. I only have the one bush, so I'm paying close attention to it, too and it's spreading!!
Another berry with good health benefits is the goji berry! Goji berry bushes are slow growers at first but are suppose to do well in drought conditions. With the berry garden in my thoughts, I planted some goji berry seeds awhile back.

I don't use goji berries to make pies but they are a good addition to the berry garden, anyway. I will have some of this seed for sale on my site shortly. My goji berry bushes are fairly small due to a poor start. In addition to being slow starters, mine were left in the tiny pots most of the summer that year, not having started the berry bed yet, and were transplanted a few times, walked on and generally neglected. They'll get a chicken manure boost this fall and will, hopefully, get much bigger next year!
Two years ago I planted three little red raspberry runners that were very big this year. We had a lot of raspberries and I made some raspberry jam that went over well. I got another runner in a trade this year and added it to the ones I have. I am also getting some runners now from my big ones that I will dig out and transplant. I am working on making a 20' row of raspberries too. My garden is 20' long. See my previous post on "Our Raspberries" for recipes.


I did some trading with friends and acquired a couple of gooseberry bushes and one giant gooseberry bush. (Real gooseberries, the green kind, not "cape gooseberries", which is another name for ground cherries). This is not a picture of my gooseberries. I haven't gotten any berries from mine yet, but this is what they look like when I do get them.




This is the giant gooseberry bush. It is drowning in ground cherries, poor thing! I`ve had to fight them off and protect it all summer! We are all drowning in ground cherries!
I found four more gooseberry bushes growing wild on the property and moved them to the berry garden to live with their relatives. I want a large amount of gooseberries next year!




This is an old farm where we live, so I could find just about anything growing here! I'd love to find a buried leather bag full of old coins! Maybe I should get a metal detector! ...Maybe not. I'd get tired of digging up machinery parts. I know the previous owners planted machinery parts all over the place and I just don't understand why. Were they hoping to grow a good crop of tractors? I have large barrel garbage cans near the gardens that are just full of small, odd bits of macinery.
Along with these wild gooseberry bushes, I also found a lot of wild blackberry bushes in that back corner while fencing. These are the first ones I've seen here. I know they are blackberries because they had very large and delicious fruit on them in late August, when I discovered them. I am going to make a row of blackberries in the pie and wine garden too! They fruit later than most other berries, in late August, so this will be a good thing.

On a side note...I have come to hate fencing! It has consumed my entire summer, so I am glad to say that some good did come from it. I found some blackberries! It's not over either! I've still more to do. Buck got out again today. I swear that dog is worse than a goat!! He is too big and heavy to jump high and he doesn't seem to climb, but he digs with huge, flat feet that make great shovels! He can find a way out in the most strongly fenced area. I have seen him systematically checking the fence for a way out. Any tiny little weakness in the fence is taken advantage of. I am starting to think that there is no such thing as Buck proof fencing! He also digs big holes all over the place, but we are, so far, ok with that. We've have stoicallly accepted it as part of his charm. He falls into them a lot more often than we do. lol. Silly boy!


In addition to the above mentioned berry bushes, I have also received six black mulberry babies (four of which are still growing), two black elderberry babies and two current babies in trades this spring. All are doing well except for two mulberry bushes, one elderberry bush and the currents. They seem to have disappeared, but I am hoping they will come back next year. I can't blame them for hiding after the giant puppy walked on them! They were doing ok in spite of that, then one day they were just gone. I am hoping they will come up again in the spring.



This is the largest of my black mulberry bushes. They get huge and I have them growing only about 2' apart. They are getting big now, so I will move them in the spring while they are still dormant.











Ditto for the elderbery bush. This is an elderberry bush but it`s not MY elderberry bush.

Mine is just 1`tall, but it will grow!


I, myself, bought and planted a lavender in the pie, juice and jam garden, not so much for pies but for jelly, juice and drying for sachets/pomanders. Its just one little plant but I have rooted others by laying down the branches and covering them with dirt. They grew roots and I will separate them into their own spots in the spring. I will do the same thing in the spring when they all begin to grow. I am hoping to acquire a 20' row of lavender in the pie garden too.

My berry garden is a "lasagna" garden that is a couple of years old. Every spring I add chicken manure to it and as much mulch as I can come up with. Grass clippings are my main source through the summer, then it gets a generous helping of leaves in the fall. I have also added shredded paper this year, since I had it anyway and Buck found the stash of bags of shredded paper. That was great fun!


I used to keep bags of shredded computer paper for chicken litter and I had quite a few bags left. They make good mulch but it looks odd since it's so unnaturally white. If it works well, I will continue to add it as mulch to the garden. Being made from wood pulp, the paper will need to be supplemented with manure. Wood uses up the nitrogen in the soil as it decomposes so it's not that good for the garden without the chicken manure.


All in all, I think I have accumulated a good assortment of berries for my pie and wine garden! I am excited about what it will produce next year! I can't read about or hear about an edible berry without trying to find someone to trade for one and trying to grow it in my garden! I am obsessed!!

8 comments:

Janey said...

Thanks for the seeds! They came while we were out of town last week. I can't wait to start them. When do you think--December or so? I like to put things outside at the end of March or first of April. I plan to build a raised garden bed, but if I don't get around to that, I will just use several big pots that I have sitting empty.

Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

I would start them about 6 weeks before your last frost date, if on a windowsill, earlier if growing under a lights indoors.

The Portugal tomato seeds are indeterminate - the plants will get HUGE, probably about 8' tall with your growing season!

The Japanese Redneck said...

Wow, lot's going on there.

I like the thornless blackberries! Much easier to deal with when picking.

I think I'll have plent of runners if your interested in a few. We could do that trade for the ground cherries and garden huckleberries.

Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

I'd love some runners but you can't send live plant material across the border :-(

Seeds only, unfortunately. Do you ahve seeds for the thornless blackberries? Not sure if they grow here or not but I'm willing to try them!

I'm happy to trade you some chichiquelite and ground cherry seeds for thornless blackberry seeds!

lmk

The Japanese Redneck said...

I don't think they seed. I have a ton of seed that I bought at the Fall Fest last year, but it's all flower.

I'll have to inventory it and see if any of it's anything you want.

Ruralrose said...

Excellent post here - you are really generous with your knowledge - peace

Terrasola said...

Mr. Terrasola thinks that prior owners of your property may have been mechanics running some sort of garage (as a hobby, as part of a working farm, or as a side business). We've experienced the same thing at our home.

Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

Thank you Ramona! Let me know if you find anything.

Thank you, Rose!
I think Mr. Terrasola may be right.