Saturday, July 3, 2010

Fruits & Berries

One of my early childhood memories is sitting in a strawberry patch. Naturally, in the Northwest, we must have fruits and berries. At our home in Kelso I had planted 20 feet of everbearing raspberries, an unknown variety passed on to me by a semi-retired pastor who had received them from his daughter, who took possesion of them when she moved into her home in Port Angeles, I believe. It was a shame to leave them behind. However, I managed to bring two cat litter tubs full of healthy canes with me. They had established well enough to be quite fruitful and multiply.

We also brought with us to Puyallup a pair of blueberry bushes. These are Ellicott and Northland varieties we had purchased as bare root plants from Costco. One of them is pictured below.
Also making the journey to our new home were three half-barrels full of strawberry plants. Again, I have no idea of the variety, but the barrels and the berries came from a friend in the congregation where I served at Longview, WA. One barrel still contains second-generation strawberry plants from the originals I was given. After they are finished this year I'll pull them out to make room for another blueberry bush I bought for my wife for Mother's Day. The other two barrels have already been cleaned out and will take the other two blueberry bushes after they finish fruiting and before the plants go dormant.

As I mentioned previously, one of the small 3'x5' beds contained strawberries. These are quinalts. Very tasty. In order to make room for other veggies, I created a strawberry patch in our front yard, pictured below. This strip gets good morning sun and even late afternoon sun shining between our house and the neighbor's place. It's about 4'x10'. I transplanted 48 strawberry plants - 24 quinalts and 24 of whatever it was we brought with us.
We gave away many strawberry plants after clearing out the barrels and the small raised bed. This year has not produced as many strawberries as the last. Last year gave us enough to snack on and make a pie. (Before we left Kelso, the raspberries there had given us enough for 4-5 pies that summer!) But this year we are getting blueberries off our bushes, and last year we harvested 3 dozen pears from our pear tree!

With that segue, we have two pear trees and two apple trees in our back yard. There's also a cherry tree that seems to be doing better this year than last. Last year I got approximately a dozen cherries off the tree. We'll see how this year goes. The pear tree that produced so well last year only has a half-dozen fruit so far this year. Neither apple tree has done well yet. I think they're not in a good spot. We'll put manure around them and wait another year, otherwise they may become applewood chips for barbeque!

Last year at a local farmer's market we purchased a couple thornless blackberry canes. They have established well. Also, I have received many new raspberry canes from a family member of a church member at my current congregation, Bethany Lutheran in Spanaway. They seem to be doing very well, with signs of fruit as well as new canes emerging.
Here's to a fruitful summer!

1 comment:

  1. Snap!
    I've been looking for someone with ever-bearing raz plants and just last week broke down and bought some Autumn Brittons from Raintree. I bet you have some locally-adapted cultivar of such.

    When buying, I asked if they produce a crop in the spring and then again in the fall, and the nursery gal said "well I just planted those last year, and if that was any indication I'd say they just start fruiting and then never really stop"

    That's what I'm talking about! If we're going to devote space to a plant it might as well produce all the time instead of just in one busy month