2018 berry plant progress and harvest report


This morning’s harvest, most are Jewel, the Earliglow seem to be almost played out.

Putting them to good use!


harvested a couple of chubby PAF berries yesterday and shared them with my wife and kids. we all agree they taste better than store-bought blackberries and the blackberries we’ve had in restaurants (which are probably store-bought).


These are Gurney’s “Whopper” strawberries. They are by far the biggest, most productive strawberry I’ve ever grown. But, IMO the flavor is poor, and they are too watery. They also seem to have more issues with rot than my other varieties.

My kids prefer quantity over quality when it comes to strawberries, so they love them.


Thanks. I wonder if the bigger strawbs are all like that, kind of a diluted, washed out flavor? Varieties like Albion and Cabot supposedly make huge berries, and I wonder if they have this issue?


Here on the 8b/9a line in western Louisiana we are mid way through the blackberry season, with wild dew berries fruiting about 5-6 weeks ago, and the first of my Thornless Prime Ark Freedoms and Travelers ripening around May 1st, with the last of the PAF and PAT’s Floricane crop being harvested Memorial Day (May 28th), My Osage and Ouachita blackberries are at or near peak of harvest right now (June 1st), and the main crop of my Sweetie Pie Blackberries are approaching their prime even though I have been nibbling on early berries from them for about 2 weeks. Overall I have to say Osage has the best flavor of my Blackberries, though the size is a little smaller than my Ouachitas. All of my thornless Blackberries that I started planting in January 2016 (I planted 4-11 of each above listed variety) excluding PAF’s are doing well, I had 100% loss of 6 PAF’s the first year, replanted 5 more in 2017, am now down to 3, maybe 2 PAF’s. If these fail I will probably not replant as my PAT’s are doing well with some new primocanes that shot up to over 6 ft tall while I was out of town during mid May for 9-10 days.

I did also plant a single Triple Crown blackberry this spring (it was a bare root freebie), it was planted late and it too seems to have died.

On the blueberry side, the season has finished for my Sweet Crisp and other southern high bush varieties, with my second year in ground Brightwell being harvested this week, with a few Pink Lemonades (which probably peeked last week), as well as an unknown mature (20+ year old) rabbiteye, which has been very productive after major pruning last winter. I have a second large older unknown rabbiteye, that usually does well, but had a poor crop last year, this year while there are many berries, they are also very small, I have to wonder if this is due to cross pollinating with one of the southern highbush, as there are reports that this causes smaller fruit in rabbiteyes, and it does tend to bloom early for a rabbiteye.

To date SWD has been minimal this year, though I do expect that to change shortly, with all the hot weather (unfortunately dry weather too) that has been going on the last few weeks.


Here in southern Richmond, my earliest blackberry and one black/rasp cross are just starting to ripen. I’m having some trouble telling when the cross is truly ripe, and my blacks are a little sour.

The earliest blueberries are turning blue, but nowhere near edible yet.

The gooseberries are still ripening/growing in size, and I hope to have a real harvest of currants.

I do need to get it in gear to net things, though.


Thanks for your report. How would you rank your blackberries as far as flavor, productivity, and size of berry? I’m curious to hear about your PAT, as I haven’t hardly heard anything about them on here or anywhere else.

Our 4 new UArk berries have been doing well since I planted them about 6 weeks ago. All of them are at least 16" tall with the PAF plant almost two feet tall now, with the Osage close to that.

Our 5 Triple Crowns are doing pretty well, after about 3 months. The tallest one is about 15" high now.


Very nice, Andrew, those look tasty. Is it true about Mara des Bois having a very fragrant scent to them? I’m curious as to see how your Sparkle do, as I was maybe considering adding that variety.


I would rate mine for flavor in the following order, best to worst:

Osage (most complex sweet flavor)
Sweetie Pie (sweetest, though not as complex as Osage)
Prime Ark Freedom
Prime Ark Traveler

Berry Size puts
PAF and PAT as largest
followed by Ouachitata
then Osage
and Sweetie Pie being just slightly smaller than Osage

Growth habit varies between them with PAT being the most erect growing getting much thicker primocanes this year (planted 26 - 28 months ago), Ouachita being more trailing with long canes, Osage is more spreading, more erect than than Ouachita, generally bushier, SweetiePie is also bushy with lots of canes growing in all directions, but more trailing.

For overall plant size and yield I would put it as a tie for first place between Osage and Ouachita on berry count, though with average berry being larger on Ouachita. Sweetie Pie next, followed by the PAT, and as I mentioned PAF having high failure rate (75-80%)


We have strawberries ripening–it’s a race between the kids, pill bugs, and slugs as to who can eat them first.

Does anyone have a successful method of keeping strawberries off the ground so creapy crawlies don’t get to them?


Disappointed in Earlyglow this year - berries just got smaller and fewer. I’m calling them done.


Same here, they didn’t really produce that many berries, and most of those were small. Very good flavor, so guess we’ll keep them. The Jewel are still giving us quite a few berries every day.

Both varieties are really shooting out the runners, so next year ought to be a big harvest, provided they survive deer and winter.

How are your Yambu looking?


Boysen berries look good

Kotata looking good


Yambu still looking small - I think they’ll be later than Rutgers, which is starting to red up some


You’re letting your Yambu produce? I thought you’re not supposed to let strawberries fruit the year you plant them?


Only if you want a lot of runners

I’m sure that’s why the EG didn’t do much, but it hasn’t slowed down the runners


Yeah they say that but I don’t follow it strictly. Plants usually only produce a few the first year at most. Also I often save runners, and under good conditions grow quickly. I don’t know which ones are new? Or miss the berries. Maintenance is daily with strawberries. I let some go and I have a couple billion plants!

I put in a new bed. plants are producing well. Mostly runners, a few new plants and a few old.


My old bed produced so abundantly I had trouble bending over to pick all the fruit every day. Made lots of jam

But it was it a soggy location and eventually succumbed to disease and rot, so I started over and have never had a good year since.


I have an area like that and a raspberry is there, it often loses canes. I was thinking about putting a swap currant there.


I once tried planting some rasps in that area, but they never survived

Celery might like it, except I filled it in