The new berry patch is on its way!
Whew. Tired and pooped from big gardening days both yesterday and today.
The third fenced area (after the garden and orchard) will have corn and pumpkins–mostly for the chickens–and a separate berry zone that’s sub-fenced off with t-posts and netting.
This morning we planted 2 gooseberries, 5 currants (3 red, 1 black, 1 white), and 2 blueberry bushes. It will take one more blueberry plant to fill out the first row.
The plan is to get more bushes next year for the second row. We bought all the berry plants from a local mostly-berry farm at the Ithaca Farmers’ Market. They have an all-fruit CSA plus duck and chicken eggs. They also sell berry plants and apple trees.
He has 8 different blueberry varieties, but propagates only two each year. Otherwise it’s too confusing to keep track of what’s what, he said. Makes sense when you’re a small farm. Consequently, the blueberry bushes will go in a bit more slowly than I would like. I was hoping the berry patch would be done in 2 years, 3 tops. But we like this farmer and he seems to have really good plants. Plus since he grows and propagates them in the area, it seems more likely that *these* plants will do well. After all, they’ve used to the weather, soil, and so forth.
The plan is to buy 2 blueberry bushes from him each year for 4 years in order to take advantage of the varieties he has. This year is year #1. I’ll probably also buy a few more gooseberries and maybe another currant or two next year. Again, he brings different varieties each year so depending on which year you buy, you’ll get different plants.
We’ve found that diversity is a big help. If something does terrible one year, something else will happen to have a boom year. Granted, these are all different berry plants. It’s not like they are spinach versus butternut squash versus parsnips. But, when in doubt, diversity is a good general principle to follow–and, ahem, not just in gardening and farming…
I’ll need to be a bit careful, however. Otherwise, it will soon be berry overload and I’ll have too many berries to process all at once! The good thing is that currants, gooseberries, and blueberries all do fine being frozen–and turned into jam or other things later.