Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A berry nice before and after

Today I spent the morning trellising our berry plants, which were fragile-looking little sticks when we put them in last April.  I think right now we have a total of 20 plants -- raspberries, ollalieberries, blueberries and blackberries -- which have grown exponentially since we planted them.  It's pleasant work, trellising.  You stand around in the fall sunshine, winding the longer vines along the trellis gently, making them support themselves and keeping their growth off the ground.  It reminds you that harvest is done and cold weather is coming, when these vines will sleep and continue putting down roots, getting ready to explode again in spring, with leaves and blossoms galore.

It amazes me how quickly these have grown; they have matured much faster than any of the other landscape plants or fruit trees we planted in early '13.  It makes me realize why berry patches are seen as aggressive interlopers in gardens in other areas of the country, they certainly are hardy and fast to mature.  But here, they are manageable (even in the wild) and so are a welcome addition to our homestead.

The original idea was never to have these many berries, but when I ordered the ollalieberries, I ordered what I thought were three plants, only to discover that each "plant" delivered was actually a bunch -- containing five separate twigs, with each twig capable of growing into its own plant.  So with some attrition (a few of the twigs never produced leaves and were apparently dead on arrival) we ended up with 12 ollalieberry bushes, which is great for us since we absolutely love ollalieberry pies.

Here's a before and after, taken from the same spot out in the pasture, showing how much everything has grown since early spring of last year, or roughly six months from planting day.

From sticks

to bushes


  1. That is great! I've never even heard of ollallieberries. I have two blueberry bushes but they are purely decorative at this point. I get some blueberries but the birds get most. Have you ever seen Martha Stewart's caged-in berry patch? It's brilliant. She grows her berries under a pergola and once fruit is set she covers the pergola in fine mesh screening so the birds can't get in.

  2. Like Martha, I think I will definitely be covering these bushes with mesh, I do share many fruits in my orchard with the birds but I'm NOT sharing these berries! They're too good to share!