2018 berry plant progress and harvest report


I forgot to lift the straw from my beds in the fall. 90% of the runners rooted into the straw on top of the soil and froze, the rest got pulled out of the soil by the freeze-thaw cycle of the straw over the winter , raising and lowering itself above the soil line. This year I replanted 96 sq/ft of Strawberries,(rutgers, jewel & darselect) not using straw in the beds this time but rather in the pathways instead.


Hi there Bob. Yes, Mara des Bois does tend to have a nice fragrance. They are also pretty good even before they are dead ripe. Unfortunately, this quality has been muted so far this year. I think the heavy rain that I keep getting is watering down the flavor. Sparkle isn’t tasting much different than Mara des Bois so far this year. This is the first year it’s fruiting for me, so I’m not sure what it’s like during more ideal weather conditions. Both are smaller berries that aren’t particularly firm either. Both form runners pretty readily with no disease problems so far.

A real standout though has been Gariguette. That one has been very flavorful this year despite the rain.


Thanks for the reply. We’ve had lots of rain too, but the flavor of both our varieties seem good.

Our Earliglow are just about done fruiting, not a big harvest this year. But, we planted 25 last year, and 21 survived, and we got no runners from them. The patch is awash in runners now, I need to get out there and get them placed evenly. Due to more runners and plants, next year ought to be great. I really like the flavor of EG, but hope they produce some bigger berries next year.

Jewel are still giving us fruit, but maybe not as much as last week. Good flavor, and a bigger berry, and more productive.

It’s tempting to add more varieties, like MdB, but I have more than enough trees and plants to take care of!


I know what you mean. I think I bought too many plants/trees this year. There are only so many non-working hours to tend to them. If you want some MdB plants, just message me in a month or 2. I’m sure I’ll be wacking back a sea of runners.


My Sunshine Blue is starting to fully ripen and it’s loaded this year :slight_smile: It blooms during definite danger of hard freeze here, so it varies from year to year.

Albion strawberries are all I have this year, but they are my favorite here :slight_smile: I’ve had a few.

Boysenberry (thorny) is starting to ripen quickly, and Caroline raspberries have been ripening for a while. So good! Stink bugs adore Caroline (maybe all raspberries) so that’s a bummer.

Then today I had my 1st Cherokee blackberry of the year. The thorns are terrible (I have one permanently embedded in my finger, AAMOF, unless I get surgery to remove it) but it’s just the best tasting blackberry I’ve ever had! You don’t even have to wait till they get dark and they’re sweet.


Oh I hope it didn’t sound like I was angling for some free plants. I appreciate the offer, though, thank you.

I’m not working right now, but am looking to soon. Anyways, even now, I feel like I don’t have enough time to do what needs to be done.

We have 29 fruit trees, and they all need to be weeded, fertilized and mulched. The strawberry patch is starting to get out of hand with weeds and runners, as well as the new raspberry run. Plus, we have to get about 3 dozen tomato and 9 pepper plants put in the ground, probably tomorrow. And, we haven’t even planted our corn, cukes, beans, okra, zucchini or pumpkins yet. Spring was too cold and wet, and then it seems we went straight to summer, with more rain, so we’re way behind.


How do the Albion taste? I’ve read that they are a huge berry, and I wonder if the large size means that its flavor is a bit diluted? Isn’t it an everbearer?

Is Cherokee an old U-Arkansas blackberry variety? Do you have any other of their thornless varieties?


Naw man. Not at all! I would just be ripping them out or mowing them down when they start rooting in my lawn. They’re almost as bad to control as mint.


Albions do get big! And they stay nice and red and flavorful. That’s why I like them best. They have a long season here, but I can never get everbearers to bloom again after the really hot days come. I might not have them in the right kind of soil for how hot and dry we get in NC by late summer. My strawberries’ foliage starts to look quite bad by then, too. I neglect them a bit by then!

It is theirs. Cherokee is really thorny, tho. I have a bunch if anyone wants to try it --they make long, hidden canes that root as they go, under the mulch, lol.

I also grow their Natchez --thornless-- and PAF 45. 45 really doesn’t like our heat, like they say. I do get a small fall crop but not till very late. We stay too hot for blooms for too long.

Natchez is good, but you have to wait for it to turn very dark for sure. It’s nicely thornless and its berries are really big, so I like it.


I saw a strawberry taste test in California, and Albion won. Known as an excellent strawberry.

Yes, they should be called double bearers. I usually can get a 2nd crop, but it’s only a few after that. Why I mostly grow June bearing but Albion and MdB are very good berries certainly worth growing.

In general i don’t like the thornless types, their is an aftertaste i don’t like, all seem to have it. If dead ripe I can’t taste it though. But those marginal berries are awful to me. I pulled all of mine out. They didn’t get the memo and from leftover roots all tried to grow this year. i decided to give a couple another chance. Columbia Star and Black Diamond. These both do not have that U of Ark aftertaste.


I went out to the strawberry patch this morning to get some berries for my cereal. It seems like there’s not as many fruit on the Jewel plants as I thought there was. Yes, we’ve been picking them, but they seemed to be almost done. I’m suspecting some kind of varmit has got in there and helped themselves to some berries. I was thinking if it was deer, they would’ve eaten the leaves too, but I didn’t notice any missing. I remember quite a few still green berries before and they’re mostly gone. Maybe birds got in there and plucked them off? They have been active, because I noticed our sapling tart cherry tree had some fruit on it last week, and now there’s just the pits left. Very aggravating. Maybe next year I’ll put some hoop house netting over the strawbs.


less likely to be the birds. an ornithologist friend says birds are pretty discerning re: fruit ripeness. mammals, on the other hand. . . .


My White Gold cherries are weeks from being ripe, but they’re starting to blush and the birds have already been into them

With strawberries, they don’t take the whole fruit so much as cut into it with their beaks. With cherries, you can see the bare pit hanging - that’s birds. Squirrels pull the whole cluster off

I netted the cherry tree this morning


This has been my experience, any red on any fruit, they go for it. I have seen them impale plums with their beaks. I guess hoping it busts open, it doesn’t so no more damage.

My strawberries are starting to come in. So the daily harvest begins, ends in November!
We are starting small but soon I will be picking more than i can eat.

Musk strawberries are very unique.


Drew, do you get SWD on the strawberries? What do you do to control them?

I have Tristar Everbearing strawberries, but by mid summer they get so infested with SWD they aren’t even worth picking.


Why I only grow June-bearers


No too much else for them to eat. they are not here yet and I only grow one everbearing. So they are not a factor. Damage on berries is from small pin head size snails. I just put out snail bait yesterday, those harvested were hit, but not bad. The bait will kill them. They like to eat bean plants too, little gross things that they are!

Yeah I have tried controlling them, but unless you do it daily forget it. new ones hatch daily. I removed most fruits that ripen when here. A little worried they will go after other fruits I have so left some for them to munch on.


I tried Spinosad last year on blackberries and raspberries, but it didn’t seem to work very well.


I has tried diatomaceous earth in a dust pump, or whatever it’s called? It works really well for ants! It does kill them, but the stuff is messy, can cause cancer if you breath it, like asbestos, glass shards in your lungs. So far from ideal. Safe to eat, some people do on purpose!
I tried attracting humming birds, but they are not used to coming around this area, and the feeders leaked badly. I need better feeders! Once i saw a study and they autopsied a humming bird and they found 90 bugs in it’s gut! It would love SWD flies. Some reporting it works. i tried the fake sugar that is supposed to kill them, and it didn’t seem to do anything.

For blackberries I grow mostly Boysen, wyeberries, and tayberries and they all ripen very early before they are here. besides the fact they are awesome and excellent tasting. I don’t get a lot as some canes die on me, it’s too cold here for them, but I still get 50 -100 berries a plant.
I have other blackberries too, and I fight the SWD on them. I freeze all berries I don’t mind the worms like that. When chilled they vacate the fruit, so i chill in the fridge first.


They also destroyed my elderberries last year. Little did my family know the amount of larvae in their elderberry syrup.