Saturday, April 7, 2012

Planting More Strawberries & Blackberries

  Yesterday, on Good Friday, since two of my workers were off from school, they helped me plant our new strawberry field.  We transplanted 300 plants, 100 each of 3 different varieties--'Galletta', 'L'amour' and 'Mesabi'--in 9 rows, 3 rows of each variety.  We set the plants two feet apart on the raised beds that Bill made a few weeks ago.  I'll need to apply mulch around the plants in the next couple weeks.  As the new plants get established, they'll send out runners, and I'll set the first runners where I want them on the beds, to fill in the rows.
Brandon Ledford, left, dug holes while Joel Zwahlen, right, and I transplanted strawberries into 9 rows of raised beds in our new strawberry field.  Our apple orchard was blooming in the background.
  The plants will bear their first crop in 2013, and hopefully continue producing well for about five years.  Our existing 'Earliglow' strawberry planting is fruiting for its 4th year this year, is blooming now, and has an excellent crop since we've had no killing frosts during strawberry bloom this year.   Strawberries should be ripe about May 1 to 28 this year.  Strawberries are pick-your-own only, by appointment only, so call 620-597-2450 to set up a time to pick.
  I've also been transplanting 100 more 'Natchez' blackberry plants over the last few days.  This thornless blackberry variety is very early-ripening and has very large, excellent quality fruit.  The existing 'Natchez' blackberry plants are blooming now.
  This morning we just about finished pruning the peach orchard before the rain set in.  We have a huge peach crop this year, so we'll start thinning the young fruit heavily in a few weeks.  We bought pneumatic limb shakers to help with peach thinning this year.  Removing excess young fruit is necessary so the remaining fruit will develop decent size and sweetness.