Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘plants’

It has been an amazing season so far for the garden. Everything is growing so well and we’ve been enjoying full-sized tomatoes for over a month, which is the earliest we’ve ever managed.

We’re also getting lots more than is typical since the late blight usually cuts into the peak production. Not only are the large amounts of tomato, the tomatoes themselves are really big! This one is our personal record for size and was 2 pounds, 8 ounces! It’s also the third one we’ve had over 2 pounds so a remarkable harvest. There are so many we’re actually doing some canning but this one will be carved up for dinner!

Exif_JPEG_PICTURE

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

The black raspberries have mostly settled in so I thought it was time to talk a bit about the findings so far.

br2

I put in a number of plants in early 2016 and was given another group last spring so we have a mix of 1 and 2 year olds. Last fall was busy so we didn’t do much in the way of care or clean-up on them either. They are planted in bed that has partial shade to almost full sun. It was were the neighbours hooked up to the sewer system so while it was well dug earth, it wasn’t really improved.

This variety fruits on the second year canes so there was only a very light crop last year. This year was a different story!

blackr.jpg

We’ve been getting an average of 1-2 cups a day for most of the past couple of weeks. There are still some left to ripen but most are finished now. I expect we’ll only get another 6-8 cups.

While they are very productive, getting the fruit is a bit harder than picking the fall reds. The branches are very high, so some easily rise above 5′ to 6′ high in beautiful arcs, and all are equipped with vicious thorns. The light picking last year left my hands and arms really scratched up so this year I made some armour. A pair of older leather gloves had their fingertips cut off and a bit of brown faux leather was used to make a pair of bracers. They may not be pretty but they work. I’m still getting a few scratches around my elbows and some clothing snags, but am otherwise unscathed. To be clear, this isn’t me being overly sensitive, some sort of protection is a requirement. Even the birds have left them alone.

arm1

The fruit itself has a surprising, unique flavour that is significantly different from the red. I’d always wondered why “blue raspberry” flavour had no bearing on any raspberry I’d ever tried but it’s clear it was based on fresh black ones. While they are pleasant fresh, they are, in our opinion, best used as a cooking berry. They cook up with solid, yet juicy texture and a deeper, richer “raspberry” flavour. The colour is also lovely. The red ones tend to both get a bit mushy and their red colour can also end up looking grey when cooked and mixed with other things. With the blacks, they cook to a rich purple with deep reddish juice. The smaller, drier fruits also hold together better and they work more like a blueberry in terms of being easy to be mixed in and still hold on to their shapes. They make a lovely pie.

pie2

Overall, the black raspberries have made a well timed addition to the fruit collection. They are a great cooking berry and their timing has fallen in a fairly empty period. The strawberries are done and the blueberries are just starting so it gave us a nice bit of small fruit coverage. The plants seem low maintenance. We’ll need to remove this years fruiting canes in the fall and intend to do a deep leaf cover again. While they are extremely well armed, it is possible to pick around them and they have fended off both birds and other berry thieves.

Read Full Post »

Last year, I’d taken the pruned bits from my hardy kiwis and potted them up. All the surviving pots were buried in one of the beds for the winter.

This past week I pulled them out and moved all the living ones to new, single pots. They all had good sized root balls so I’m optimistic about the process. I have 12 plants with 11 being female and one male. That ratio isn’t ideal, but the males seem more fragile.

We took pretty heavy damage on the older ones from bunnies this winter. They had been fine the 2 years before but this winter saw 3 eaten back to smaller than they were when I first planted them. A couple more lost 20% to 40% of their branches. One had the bark cleared off the top of most of it’s base but it seems to doing alright so far. The smaller of my 2 males got the worst, but he’s still alive. I don’t know if was due to how cold this past winter was, but clearly, I’ve got to come up with some form of bunny guard, going forward.

The plan now is to keep the babies in their new pots for at least another year then I’ll look at putting them in the ground. It’s still a bit early for me to take a new round of pruning, so I don’t know what this years crop of newborns will be. At the rate things are going, it’ll be a few more years before I’ll have extras to share.

 

kb1

Read Full Post »

While we’ve been working on the grounds of the store, we’ve also been planting around the house.

tree peony, June 2013

tree peony, June 2013

One of the long term projects is to get rid of all the lawn in the front. It has a pretty, metal fence around it and we’re going for the English country style garden, inside. A couple of years ago we put in a small tree peony. As is typically for all peonies, it sulked for a while, but has finally decided that it is going to flower this year. This is the first flower and while it’s bigger than the other peonies, it’s not quite a big as I’ve seen from other fully established tree peonies. There is one other bud, but it looks like it will be a bit smaller. Overall, we’re pleased to see it in flower, but are looking forward to it being a bit bigger and, hopefully, producing the dinner plate sized flowers that are expected from the tree peonies.

Read Full Post »

There is a large trench, along the border of the store and house properties.

honey berry plant, May 2013

honey berry plant, May 2013

It was cut in when the house was connected to the towns new sewer system. I had dreams of a blueberry patch along it but that hasn’t worked out too well. It turns out that rabbits consider the branches to be a tasty, winter-time snack. They’ll eat all of the new growth, as well as anything else they can reach so the plants get a bit smaller each year. On top of that, the birds are extremely determined about eating all the berries before they fully ripen. Since it’s not the best soil, and over the sewer pipe, I did want to stay with shallow rooted, production shrubs. With the blueberries being a failure, last year we decided to try some haskapberries. We put in a group of nine, and they were little more than sticks. With the drought conditions, they got watered, but not as often as I would have liked for new transplants. As a result, I was pleasantly surprised to see some vigorous growth, this spring. All of them have popped up with new branches and lots of leaves. A few have even set flowers. We’ll see if the birds let us sample the fruit!

Read Full Post »

The pair of plum trees seem to have fully settled in.

plum flowers, May 2013

plum flowers, May 2013

(and don’t seem to have had any set-backs from last years drought, unlike a few other things) We’re keeping our fingers crossed that there won’t be a late frost, that kills the flowers, like last year. I have hopes of getting more than one plum, per tree, this round. The one we did get was delicious, so it would be good to have enough for eating. At least there are lots of flowers, and the pollinators are hard at work. We’ll just have to wait and see how many set, and if the trees are old enough to keep a decent number until ripeness.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: