Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mulching Blackberries and Raspberries

  Our 'Royalty' purple raspberries are still producing well, despite the high heat and drought.  We are having to water raspberries and blackberries.
'Royalty' purple raspberries are still plentiful.

  I've been gathering many loads of grass clippings with our grass catcher lately.  Our workers then spread this as mulch along the rows of our raspberry and blackberry plants.  The mulch helps hold in what little soil moisture there is, and helps smother out some weeds.  I'm also carefully spot-treating pesky perennial weeds with glyphosate (Roundup).
Our son Michael Reid (left), Joe Tillman (right), and our other workers Lucas Epler and Joel Zwahlen (in back) applied mulch to the blackberry rows this morning.
     The thornless blackberry crop is reduced this year, as noted on a previous post, as -17 F temperatures in early Feb. killed back the fruiting canes.  Only the lower blackberry fruiting shoots survived, and they  bloomed two weeks later than normal.  So only a few blackberries have started ripening yet.  The time of heaviest blackberry ripening will be about July 8 to Aug. 6 this year.
Alex holds a 'Natchez' blackberry bigger than his thumb.  He and his grandma, Ann Kress, picked a couple quarts of 'Natchez' blackberries this morning.
   The few 'Natchez' blackberries that are ripe are nice and big.  'Ouachita', our next variety, is just starting to ripen.