It appears we have transitioned from asparagus season to berry season here. Blueberries were the first berry on the scene. The harvests went from a trickle to a torrent in no time. We’ve been getting over a pound a day for about a week now. My wife has been gathering them early in the day before it gets too hot. Which means we are having blueberries every morning for breakfast. In the below photo she’s all suited up to try and avoid mosquitoes and ticks.
We have gotten a lot of questions lately from friends and gardeners about our blueberries, so I thought I would try and answer some of the common queries. There were three mature bushes here when we bought the place in 2007. We have since replanted one of them that had very small and not very tasty berries. And then we planted six additional ones, giving us a total of nine. The varieties we planted are Chandler, Elizabeth, Patriot, Nelson and Elliot. Those plants came from places like Raintree Nurseries, Stark Bro’s and Indiana Berry, and were well-grown bare root plants when we got them. Our harvests this year are coming from seven of those bushes, as the other two aren’t big enough to bear yet.
I haven’t done any real “how-to” on blueberries since I don’t feel like I’m an expert, but I guess we must be doing something right since last year we got 50 pounds from them and we are up to 13 pounds already this year. They are relatively pest free here for us. The birds get a few, but we hang a few aluminum pie plates and some old cd’s around and it seems to help keep them away.
We are getting a decent amount of raspberries too, though nothing like the blueberries. Our planting of these is smaller, mostly occupying one bed where strawberries previously grew. There are a few yellow ones planted in another bed, but they are not making many berries yet. I am no expert on raspberries either, though I have to say these are growing better than I expected. I never got around to making a trellis for them but they seem to be doing all right without one.
And amazingly, last week we got the first blackberries of the season. The ones in the below photo are Natchez, which is a relatively new planting for us. The Apache variety is not quite ripe yet. These are the only two blackberries were are growing, as the rest have been voted off the island, so to speak. The Natchez berries are almost as big as the Apaches, and perhaps a tad sweeter, though both have great flavor.
And last but not least in the berry parade, we got a small harvest from our two young currant bushes. Looking at the total amount, maybe it was the least! It certainly wasn’t enough to make anything like currant jelly or jam, so we enjoyed eating them fresh. I do think their tart flavor would go well with rhubarb. I’ll have to try that when the bushes (and the harvests) get a little bigger.
But as wonderful as berries are, they are not the only game in town. I started harvesting the Kossak kohlrabi last week. These are giants, with the biggest one so far weighing in at three pounds. We eat a lot of them raw, but we’re also experimenting with other treatments. My wife is going to try roasting them this week (it’s her week to cook).
I planted them a little farther apart than usual this year to see how big they might get, and they responded well. In the below photo I put the Kossak next to a quart container of blueberries to help show its size. I did a Spotlight on this variety last year, if you want to know a little more about it.
Squash is coming on now too. It’s only a trickle, but that’s not bad. We’ve enjoyed it raw and cooked so far. And I made some Spelt Chocolate Zucchini Muffins to satisfy my chocolate cravings.
Also joining the harvest lineup is cabbage. That in the below photo is the flathead variety K-Y Cross. It weighed in at three pounds, and has a nice sweet flavor for a spring planted cabbage. All of the cabbages are maturing at about the same time, so we will no doubt be giving some away.
I’ve also begun drying herbs. Mint is growing pretty lush about now so I cut enough to fill the dehydrator and started it drying. I’ll dry it and other herbs throughout the summer to keep us supplied. We probably use more mint than any other herb, mostly for tea.
I hope you have enjoyed this update of current happenings at HA. To see what other gardeners are harvesting, cooking or planting, visit Daphne’s Dandelions where Daphne hosts Harvest Mondays.