Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Lookin' Like A Berry Good Season

It's a smidge too early to predict what kind of a raspberry crop we'll get this year.

Blossom buds are still tightly closed on the raspberries, but I have a feeling if we could get a good, soaking rain they would start to pop. Right now the ground is super-dry and we need moisture.

The raspberry plants are filling out much more than I expected them to this year. Earlier this spring when we pruned out the dead canes, it was looking pretty sparse and I was wondering if we would have enough plants to bear more than a handful of berries. I know a lot of the greenery in the above picture is made up of new canes that have just sprouted so even if our crop isn't overwhelming this year, it looks as though next year will be a whopper-doo. (Raspberry canes grow one year and bear the next.)

Three years ago I was close to pulling out our blueberry bushes. They were about ten years old at that time and were very poor producers. I must have put the fear of the compost heap in them because all of a sudden they started giving us oodles of berries. Right now there are more blossoms on the bushes than I've ever seen.

It's hard to imagine having a better strawberry harvest than we did last year. But we sure do have a lot of blossoms out there. The yellow centers you can see in the flowers are actually tiny berries already forming. Because we are in such a dry spell and the berries need moisture to grow properly, we set up the sprinkler in the strawberry patch early this morning and gave them a good soaking. If we don't get adequate rain soon that may be a routine task for a while. Any effort we put into watering will be worth it in berries we get.

It's been gray and overcast for a couple of hours now (nearly 8 p.m.), but no rain so far. Supposedly we have a fifty percent chance of scattered showers tonight and then nothing in the forecast until Saturday night. Maybe I should go out and do my rain dance?

18 comments:

Lynda said...

Very, very nice. I love berries...they just make me smile. Yours look great..really healthy!

Erin said...

They look fabulous! Do you know we got ZERO strawberries this year? I waited so long for a day below 95 to go to the fields to pick that the fields are closed now. Once again, good thing I put up so much jam last year LOL.. that 2 year supply thing! I can't wait to see those blueberries!

Sparkless said...

We have lots of big blossoms on our handful of strawberry plants too. So far we've picked on big ripe strawberry!
The blueberries have lots of blossoms and fruit but most of the berries drop off before they get ripe. I wonder why that happens?

Your berry bushes and plants look fantastic! Can't wait to see what you do with all those yummy berries when they are ripe.

Patty said...

Sure, do that rain dance! ;) I'd love to get a nice long, gentle soaker. NOT the Apple Pie type: I'd rather my seeds and seedlings stay put. But rain would be so nice!

Sue said...

We've been getting sparse rains here and there, but it's always followed by WINDY days that just dry the heck outta stuff. I'm thinking it's gonna be the year of the berries. My blueberry bushes are just crazy loaded-now the battle of the birds/chipmunks begin.

Jane said...

I been doing a rain dance for weeks, and just today we got a sprinkle, so my dance is not that effective. If you figure out the correct dance, let me know. I hate to say this but my Blueberry bushes are about 35-40 years old. With the exception of this year (no fruit, bad spring) they always give me a good crop. Come on MamaPea, you know that age has nothing to do with how productive you are ;)

Carolyn Renee said...

I'm super-jealous of your berry garden! And of all your older blueberry bushes. We planted blueberries last year and lost half of them and this year not a dozen flowers. :(

Got to plan on "Next" year's berry garden here.....oh well, at least I can look here & drool.

judy said...

Boy oh boy-did those berries listen to you or what--now I'm scared I'll go to the compost pile too----lol-----YOU ARE SO LUCKY TO HAVE ALL THOSE IN YOUR FUTURE BAKING LIST ! TO AUG.1, BAKE BLUEBERRY MUFFINS,AUG 15-,RASPBERRY COBBLER ETC. ETC.

Dmarie said...

yea to fresh berries! our two tiny blueberry bushes are starting to produce, and Hubby put a mesh around them to keep out the competition. I added seven home-grown berries to my smoothies this morn...I felt rich! ;)

LindaCO said...

Being awash with berries sounds like my idea of successful gardening. Too soon to tell if my raspberries will bear after the hail, but I definitely need to plant strawberries next year (once that bed is prepped *sigh*).

Susan said...

All that green and sunshine! Can you stand it? If you need help picking those blueberries, you just holler, okay?

Mama Pea said...

Lynda - When a berry crop is "in," we O.D. on it. Sometimes eating a bowl of them fresh a couple of times a day for a meal or two. We've had people say that's not good for us, but isn't that how people had to exist way back when you ate what was in season and then didn't have it again for another year?

Erin - Sure don't blame you for not trying to pick in those temperatures! (And I complain when it's 80 and I have to go out to our patch to pick. Whadda wimp.)

Sparkless - Gosh, I think your poor blueberry bushes have a problem. Google that dropping blossom thing and see what they say.

Patty - Well, we got a little rain today, didn't we, Patty? Not enough though I fear. I'll go shake my stuff again tonight. ;o}

Mama Pea said...

Sue - Knock on wood, we have never been bothered by birds or critters in the blueberries. The little chipmunks like my strawberries though. I find these huge, beautiful strawberries out in the lawn somewhere with one bite taken out of them!

Jane - HEY! You callin' me OLD?? Huh, HUH? ;O}

Carolyn Renee - It sure can be a struggle but having your own berries is soooo nice. Jams, jellies, canned fruit, syrups, fresh frozen, WINE!! (Haven't gotten to that last one yet, but want to.)

judy - The really nice thing is I have enough that I can freeze some of each and have them to use all year long!

Mama Pea said...

Dmarie - I had to smile at your seven fresh berry smoothie. But you do appreciate them when you finally get them, don't you?

LindaCO - If the hail didn't knock off raspberry blossoms, you should be okay. Of all the berries, I think you get the most return from strawberries. Now go prep that strawberry patch! ;o}

Susan - Okay! Wait. Are you one of those pickers who goes "one for the bucket, three for me"? You may have to sign a waiver before we let you in the patch. ;o}

Fiona said...

Your raspberry canes look beautiful! I'm still learning the art of pruning -- ours are sparse and straggly, well what's left after the latest Japanese beetle assault. And those blueberries -- yum! I'm looking forward to seeing your strawberry harvest -- I'm sure papa pea is too!

Mama Pea said...

Fiona - The insect damages this year in so many gardens have been horrendous! Can't figure out what's happening. I'm not sure the raspberry harvest this year will be great, but so far the strawberries look fantastic. Fingers crossed!

The Apple Pie Gal said...

Oh my, now you too are in a drought. I just don't get it. We have lakes in our fields here still. Then again we did just get over an inch again the other day. Pretty well every other day in the forecast too. Makes me wish I had kept my berry patch around.

Keep on dancin!

Mama Pea said...

APG - Hubby was telling me of statistics he's just read saying so much of our cropland in the U.S. is underwater this year. Predictions are for prices to go up 100% on grains. Omigosh. Such awful repercussions that will have.