FoodGardening

Berry time

As the harvest of strawberries (Fragaria x ananassa) is about to end, other berries are teed up to take their place. Our low-bush blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium) will start to ripen in the next week or so with minimal overlap. Protected by bird netting, we have a great crop coming with three different cultivars that deliver ripe berries throughout July and a bit of August. The cold, cloudy weather of the last few weeks has kept them from ripening but with bright sun and heat, they are about to come into their own.

Thornless blackberries (Rubus ulmifolius ‘Triple Crown’) should be ready to pick by the end of July, though given how they are flowering now they may be ready sooner than that. Unlike the strawberries and blueberries, I don’t need to net the blackberries. The birds have no taste for them. Charlotte and Olivia will be spending a few days each week with us, so I am sure they will be a big help in picking (and eating) the berries.

Outside the fence are the ubiquitous thimbleberries (Rubus parviflorus) that are also coming into their own. They should be ready for harvest soon.

Strangely, a berry we don’t eat, beautyberry (Callicarpa japonica), is flowering much earlier than I remember. It delivers a lovely and bright purple berry in the Fall that is a favorite of the birds in the early Winter. But this year they look to arrive much sooner.

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