Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Bears in the Bushes, Berries on the Vine

~ blueberries ~
The following pictures are from last week, which shows that I have been thinking of my berries for a while now.

In the last couple of days, there has been noticeable activity from our local population of black bear - just this morning there was one up in the bushes on the other side of the fence. Bears just being bears, eating bear food - as long as people are aware & don't 'sneak' up on them, all should be fine. Just leave yourself an exit & better yet - leave the bear an exit.

This year might be a great year for berries - my blueberries are finally recovering from years of deer grazing & are loaded with fruit. Hopefully I can keep up with the birds!

~ black currants ~
 The black currant bushes were also loaded this spring with blooms, but the resulting fruit set is pretty low. I'm still struggling with figuring out what to do with these bushes - hard prune, moderate prune, don't prune at all?? They are different than the red currants & I think it will take me a few more years before I'm able to tell if what I do is working. (I think the fruit set on last year's growth, so I'm going to start the practice of removing a 1/3 each year & see where that leads us).
~ red currants ~

 The red currants are ripening as I sit here typing. I hope to get to them this afternoon - this photo is misleading as it's already a week old... But the fruit are large & growing on the lower third of the bush. It's a good thing the ducks aren't running around the yard just yet!!
~ gooseberries ~

 The gooseberries have a few fruit, enough for me to get a taste this year. I'm currently putting the dirty duck bedding material around the bushes - not right up close to the plant, more around the drip line of the plant as I'm not sure if the droppings will burn the plants.
~ crab apples ~

 The crab apple tree looks very happy & I have just under a dozen fruit growing on it. I'm actually very surprised that there are fruit considering it is only a 2 year old tree. I hope that it will continue to produce flowers each year while it grows to fill the space. I'm interested to see what the wild Pacific crab apple will do this year as it was loaded with flowers too - I've never really looked for the fruit in the fall & wonder if I started to tend this tree like I do my domestic trees if it could be added to my harvest routine...
~ loganberries ~

 The loganberry wall is just insane. I'm already planning on making wine with the excess fruit this year & will also have to create some new jam recipes to get people's taste buds tingling this fall.

The new canes are growing in quickly too - I'm tying them upright for the moment so that they don't cover up the berries. This will be a mess by the end of the season.
~ raspberries ~

 The wall of raspberries are doing very well too. I've not yet gone in to thin out this year's new canes, but I'm sure once the berries start to ripen, I'll have to start cutting back in order to actually find the ripe berries. I hope to start dividing this clump & extend the 'wall' down the property line sometime in the fall.

So far, the berries on the property are amazing me with their size & possible harvest numbers. Very soon I'll have to start looking to the wild berries to see what they are doing - if the bears will let me into the bushes.

The bears are currently eating the salmon berries & the twin berries & literally sitting in the bushes as high as they can get, which means they are breaking & damaging a lot of plants in the ditches. That in a way can be a good thing - allows people to see where the bears have been & if there is a bear still there, but also allows some of the other plants to grow up now that the tall plants have been crushed. I just hope the bear decides to remain on 'his' side of the fence & not come exploring on my side..

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