Berry plant and harvest report 2019


I’m also on my second try of Jewel too. Still got no berries.


What does everyone do to keep slugs off of strawberries?


Iron phosphate, ie Sluggo


As Lois said Sluggo, harmless to pets and us. I think they make a Sluggo Plus that includes spinosad. Both are considered organic. I would still treat it like a poison though, if with spinosad. Cyanide is a natural substance too. Spinosad is very stable and remains for some time. 6 months to 2 years. Although you can buy regular Sluggo, Iron phosphate is not dangerous to anything but slugs. Some cheaper generic products out there too, check ingredients always. It works fairly well too. Apply more after rain. It takes some time to get them all. Slugs eat a lot of food crops, like bean leaves!


I thought Spinosad was good for only a week or less.


It probably is only good for a week. But can still be there in smaller amounts. It is used to protect grains for up to 2 years with one application. The grain is stored and out of the environment, all the same the molecule will not break down easily. See wiki for more info.

It seems to be completely safe, but they said that about a lot of things and they (being the government-EPA) were wrong. Another 10 years and we will know for sure how safe it is.


I prefer the plain iron phosphate formulation for this use


I do too for now. I may be over concerned about spinosad. I’m wary of insecticides that attack nerve tissue. It was introduced in around 96, and I wonder if it has any effect on bees? As we started seeing colony collapse in recent years, In my opinion something new is contributing to it. Many of the other, even more powerful insecticides have been around for decades and we didn’t have the bee problem. Although it’s true honey bees are an invasive species here. As is much of the fruit we grow!

I never spray brambles even when I have problems as they are constantly flowering. Best to treat while dormant.
I’m all in on spraying, I just want to know what I’m doing first. I use many pesticides.
I’m hoping in the future we can find better weapons against pests that target just the pest.

I wanted to mention to those fairly new to growing berries. The first 5 years are a breeze, you won’t know what problems you will face until after 5 years when all local pests find your crop. It took SWD 4 years to find my berries. Even birds left me alone the first couple of years.


The wild black raspberries are doing well here this year…


Looks good. Do y’all have any wild blackberries, too? Our wild black rasps are ripening too, we’ve been snacking on a few of them before the birds find them.

Also got to sample some of our domesticated berries, tried a few Prelude, Nova and Caroline rasps, not a lot of them, but they tasted pretty good. My Mac Black has a few berries on it’s little floricane, not quite ready yet.


I tried to grow these, but blackcaps proved too vigorous and viciously thorny to live in the domesticated quarters of my backyard. Their thorns make red raspberry thorns look like nothing. I prefer their flavor to the reds, though.


I don’t mind the thorns as I’m growing trailing thorny blackberries, and like blacks are to reds for thorns. Blackberries are to black caps. Blackberries are vicious, very small but stab you even after cane is dead for a year or two. They tend to break off under the skin, and they have some irritant that causes them to be painful even though extremely small.
I love the flavor of the berries, but I sure pay for it! Out of all blackberries, the trailing thorny ones are the only ones I really like. Still as a syrup the thornless ones are great too, so I decided to grow them again. I removed them at one time.


We picked about 3 quarts of black currants from our Minaj Smyriou and this morning had black currant muffins with a side of black currant jam. So delicious! I love black currants! Sorry for the messy plate, but I was already on seconds.

Yesterday we harvested some of the elder flowers, trimmed off most of the stems and are using them with some lemon slices to infuse vodka. My wife found the recipe online, so this is a first attempt. But there is vodka, so how could you go wrong?


Heh, do we ever… The ~1/2ac area we have devoted to edibles had been clear cut by a previous owner, and then sat unattended for a few years. We’ve cut, dug, burned probably a few thousand of them (as well as seedlings of thousands of trees, grapevines, honeysuckle, etc…)… It was so thick a rabbit would probably find it difficult to navigate.

We love both wild black and red raspberries (wineberries). But… They can certainly be quite invasive. Wherever birds perch while eating them, there will be a ton of new canes in the spring. They self “tip layer” very easily as well. At least they don’t seem quite as bad as wild blackberries (himalayan I believe) at root suckering. Cut down a mature one of those and a dozen new ones will spring up from wherever the roots reached.

Yes… The ones growing around here at least have straight “prickles”. I’ve seen some which are curved like a fish hook. Reach in for that plump ripe berry and you are “hooked”.


Getting good amounts of blackberries. This is one of the prime ark varieties can’t remember which one. I’m not good at knowing when to pick yet. Some are a bit sour.


Your currant desserts look great! It motivates me to net my clove currants from the birds and try to do something with them. The fresh taste did not appeal to me when I tried them last year.


The calyx should be brown and crispy. The shiny black color goes a little dull. Pick a touch earlier for jam. Fully ripe is fine for jam too. I make a syrup to use for cordials.


Thanks Drew!


At last some strawberries are ripe here, some honeyberries too (not pictured). I should start getting more now if it ever stops raining!!!


I agree! Have you tried elder flower vodka? It’s very good! Valentine makes some. I was thinking of strawberry. I made just about everything else.