I got my berry plants today. Very exciting. I met my friend Carole at Nourse Farms. The people there were wonderful. She picked up her order and I asked about the different varieties. They were very helpful and happy to recommend. I ended up with everbearing strawberries. Since making jam is still on my list of things to learn in the future, I don’t want all the berries at once. Trickling out over the summer seems better. I chose Evie 2. They don’t mind hot summers and are pretty easy to grow. I got 2 Blueray blueberry plants. They are a mid season berry and very winter hardy. And I got 1 Reka, an early season berry. I ended up with fall bearing raspberries. They are easier for a beginner. I got Joan J, a thornless berry. I know raspberries have thorns, but these have been bred to be thornless. It may not be what Nature intended, but thornless sounds good to me. I hate thorns. I am too often barefoot. So the choices were easy and I got to visit some with Carole. A very good start to the day.
I got home ready to plant. The blueberry bed was ready as was the raspberry bed. And the strawberries would go on the edge of the apple tree bed, with some veggies. I had a plan and was ready to go. Just a quick look at the planting guide that Nourse Farm provided. I perused the “Avoid common planting mistakes” page and saw these words..”…avoid planting strawberries in soils where previous crops have included strawberries,raspberries, tomatoes, peppers, or eggplants…” Something about soil pathogens, whatever they are, being harmful. What about currant plants? I wondered. The apple tree bed is scheduled to have tomatoes and eggplants this year. Would that be a problem? Well it would be next year in any case. Suddenly the strawberries had no place to go. Well, things never go as smoothly as expected. Nevermind, I would find a place.
Meanwhile I would plant the blueberries. Unlike the strawberries and raspberries, which were bareroot , the blueberries were in pots. No soaking needed. So in they went. No problem.
By now it was time for the Farmer’s Market and I wanted to get some spinach since my seeds had barely sprouted. So I soaked the raspberry plants and went off to the Farmer’s Market. Their spinach was beautiful.
On to the raspberries. Pretty straight forward. Keep the roots moist and spread them out in a 2″ trench. Cover and water. The thornless canes were great. Already loving the thornlessness!
So what to do about the strawberries. Where to put them……I am running out of space for new beds. After walking around a few times, I realized they could go on the edge of the new raised beds garden. They would get plenty of sun, and watering would be easy because I have a hose there already. OK.
Again, Permaculture to the rescue. I wouldn’t have to dig beds. I put down strips of cardboard, wet them and piled on my ” not quite ready” compost. I followed this with the last of the winter’s poopy straw. Tomorrow I will add purchased compost and some top soil and plant the strawberries. I hope they will be alright tonight. I know you are supposed to plant bare root plants right away. I misted them so they will stay moist and they are outside.
Here are the beds so far. I have raised the up higher than the path. And the compost and top soil will make them higher still. I am hoping to keep the runners off the grass so they don’t get damaged by the mower.
So all in all, it was a very productive day. Gardening is very much like teaching really. Have a plan, but stay flexible. Tomorrow I will finish planting the strawberries. And then we shall see what is next.
Happy MayDay everyone!