It's blackberry season. And blackberries are our garden favorite!
So much so that I had to make a sign to start of the season.
Truth is, signs are fun to make
so the blackberries were just a good excuse.
I made this one out of a broken fence board. It was already painted with white farm paint so I just sanded the edges for a weathered look. Then I painted the lettering and berries on with exterior oil based paint (just in case it ever finds it way outside). Exterior satin wood sealer finished it off.
It's perched happily on the open shelving in the kitchen where I hope to have bowl fulls of blackberries soon.
But the blackberries aren't doing as well as last year.
Some research over the weekend told me where I went wrong.
Pruning ~ or rather, lack of it.
Turns out, blackberries need to be pruned every year. The crowns (the base of the plant) live for many years but the canes (branches) only live for two years. This is our third year for this fence row of berries.
We have 1st year canes that are growing but not producing yet.
They will bloom and berry next summer.
And we have second year canes that are producing fruit.
And then we have third year canes that are producing tiny berries but also shriveling up and dying at the same time.
So after berry season is over the second and third year canes need to be removed at the base. This will allow the first year canes to berry next year and give next years new canes room to grow in.
So for my other first year blackberry row, I have moved all the canes to one side of the fence. This will help me keep them seperate. Next year they will bloom and fruit and the new canes will be tied to the other side of the fence.
Then every year, I will cut all the canes on one side and the other side will fruit. And the next year I will do the opposite. It will be a lot easier than trying to figure out what is what like I will have to do this summer.
Then maybe we will have berries like these again!
|One picking from a 16 ft row last year (2 yr canes)|
|Look at the size of those!|
There is always something to learn about hobby farming.
Grow and raise and live and learn ~ that's what we seem to be doing on our little farm.