Blog

We're gonna need a bigger boat

You guys... it will not. stop. raining

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We've passed the point where follow that with a breezy sigh and a "but we can't complain!"… yeah, we can complain. Not us in particular too much; our rows are situated well out of the floodplain and the raised beds have kept everyone's li'l feeties dry enough to avoid damage by excess water (it appears, anyway). We've been very lucky, aside from the first planting of squash and melon seeds rotting and having to replant them (they're up better this time, but still not 100%), our plants actually look pretty great. Hopefully it'll dry up enough when the onions and garlic come out in a few weeks so they can cure properly for storage… we'll see. Can't say the same for many of our farmer friends though, and our hearts go out to them. You can't just keep sticking new seeds in the ground, appropriate conditions for planting and harvesting are pretty small windows; if you miss them, better luck next year. Oh, did you have a mortgage to pay this year? That sucks.

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Even the Big Farmers are having problems. Many couldn't get their crops in (you can't plant into a soaking wet field) and now have empty plots; they couldn't plant what they had planned even if they wanted to now because to start growing at this point in the season, they would burn up before maturing.

So, we are feeling fairly fortunate… we've dodged any hail and damaging winds, and the plants really are still looking well *knock all the wood*. The downtime has also provided ample opportunity for me and the little ladybug to hang out, for which I'm very grateful while she is so wee. But enough is enough. We have farming to do! Bugger off, rain. 

So let's talk about something more pleasant: blackberries. I would guess first real pick is in just 2 or 3 weeks. 

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The sheer number of berries on these suckers is staggering. Zoom in on the pic below. 

This is from our pilot crop of 100 canes, planted in February, 2013. We added about 1500 more canes this February. Yeeee! So June, 2017… lookout.

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Here's a shot of one of the new guys. The cane on the right is what we actually stuck in the ground, a "floricane", named thusly because it flowers. It will only bear fruit once, so at the end of the season you prune it back to the ground. Meanwhile, that green shoot on the left in my hand just came up from the ground, and is a "primocane". It will flower next year. So every season, each blackberry plant sends up a freshie primocane that grows alongside last year's primocanes which are NOW floricanes that bear the fruit. Next year, last year's primocanes will become floricanes and bear fruit. So the guy on the right will make a few berries this year (because it's so young) while the guy on the left just grows big and strong. At the end of the summer, we'll prune righty down to the ground and trellis lefty lightly for support. It'll lose it's leaves and just be a stick over the winter, but in the spring, lefty will flower and then bear a good amount of fruit while a new lefty 2.0 sprouts, and it is THAT lefty 2.0 that will bear a motherlode of berries the following summer, as well as each new lefty every year after that. It takes a couple seasons for them to get well established. Cool huh?