Busy with Berries

My favorite fruit is berries. Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, Marionberries, loganberries, huckleberries and probably others I don’t know of yet.  Remember Bubba in Forest Gump and how he liked shrimp?  Well that is how I am with berries. I like them fresh, frozen, heated, blended and maybe even sautéed.

I can always enjoy berry pie, berry syrup, berry cocktails, berry smoothies, berry breads, berries in salads, berries and ice cream, berries and cheese…need I go on?

So I’ve been working in the berry patches this week!  I mixed in a couple of inches of fresh compost in my strawberries planted in the raised beds.  I was super-excited at the many flowers I’m already seeing and had to be extra careful to not cover the crowns with compost.  (That can lead to disease.)  I wondered while working…” will I get an incredible crop this year or will it be viciously halved by slugs like last year?”  It reminds me that I have to pay more attention to the moisture level of the soil and not let it get soggy attracting herds of slugs.

The strawberries in the raised beds (mostly ‘Tri-Star’) are all a type classified as day neutral which means they  produce fruit throughout the growing season. These strawberries produce just a few runners and are great for gardeners who have limited space.  They can be grown in terraced beds, raised planters and a variety of containers.  I’ve had good luck with them except for the sharing with slugs… this year I’m determined to be selfish!

In the area I have named the “country garden” I have strawberries growing directly in the ground.  This is my newest strawberry area and these are also day neutrals.  I separated the mother and daughters (or runners) from one another, did a little space adjusting and then worked in a few inches of compost.  I am happy with my drip irrigation for this area but am thinking about  experimenting with some ground mulches such as straw or maybe weed barrier to keep berries off the ground and out of the path of rot, slugs or other berry munchers.

I don’t dare not mention the raspberries, my all time favorite!  I have just three raspberry plants each a different ever-bearing variety.  They were planted last year and still produced a few berries for us to gobble down as we happened by,  but this year I’m hoping for a big, cheeky crop of these red delights.  So I loaded them up with 4 -5 inches of compost and made sure the drip waters are functioning properly. Raspberries are heavy feeders and drinkers…so its been said through the grapevine… so I set them up nicely.

Now I can sit back and dream of all the delicious berries in my near future.  (Hopefully)

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