Early Morning Blueberries

Pippa Picking wild blueberries. The orange tag marks the berry bush

 

We went out to pick berries at 6:30 this morning because I haven’t picked in days and I was anxious not to lose my berry crop.  Pippa joined me right after I went out and we picked until just after 8. We got two quarts of blueberries and about a pint of raspberries and didn’t make a dent, so I will be picking again later today.

highbush blueberries

 

Bowl and doily spiderweb, the spider runs around on the underneath of the web and pulls prey through.

 

I kept the berries separate today... and those are domestic berries on top of the blueberries.

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Milkweed Blooms

The milkweed is in full bloom, filling the air with its spicy-sweet scent.

I’m always happy when the milkweed starts blooming. Yes, I know it’s a weed, but its the food plant of the Monarch butterfly caterpillar, and if that weren’t enough, it smells so good. I’ve been toying with trying to extract the essential oil from the flowers and bottling that scent for year-round enjoyment. I tried last year and got a few drops of oil from my rigged distillation set-up and several cups of floral esseence, but neither smelled like much – not enough there. I’m going to try with the steamer/juicer we found last year (after I’d tried with the pots and ice set-up). I may wind up with a mess. The sap of milkweed is milky, hence the name, and bitter to the taste. I’m afraid I’ll harvest that bitterness and not the sweet scent. But it’s worth a try – we have a ton of milkweed in the field. Happy experimenting time!

Service Berry close to ripe

Wild blueberries, raspberries and even a few wild strawberries.

The elderberries are in bloom. Our one plant will bear much more fruit this year!

Planting Blueberries

The promise of Harvest yet to come.

Dad and I planted 35 blueberries over this last week. We’d bought them eariler in the season, put them in pots in the greenhouse temporarily, and now finally had the time to put them in the ground. We chose to plant them where the wild blueberries are happiest, and we marked out the area the shade structure we bought will cover and planted them within that. The structure will be erected later this year, or even next spring, and then covered with bird netting to protect the crop. We don’t expect berries off these plants this year, but we will certainly have wild berries, there are tons of green berries set on the plants already. We have been fertilizing with an acid-lovers fertilizer meant for rhodies and azaleas, Dad has been putting greensand on them, and as we were planting we used peat moss to backfill the holes to counteract the neutral potting soil some of the new plants were in. Blueberries love the acid, and New England gardeners have it easy, as our soils are naturally acid to begin with. We expect to be picking off these bushes with minimal care and fuss for decades.

You know you're working too hard when you snap your tools… and incidentally knock yourself in the head.

Dad putting the plant in the ground - note the peat moss backfill.

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