Our one year old plants (Triple Crown) have been growing like crazy with all the rain we’ve had this week, and the tractor barely fits above the plants anymore, so we’re concentrating on drilling all the post holes for the trellis posts in this patch, before the brambles grow higher
Toben watches “Pappy Jeff”
The posts are approximately 30 ft. apart – or roughly every 8 berry plants. We marked the spots for each post with a squirt of spray paint. We are using our “skinny” auger in the post hole digger – and it definitely works best when sharpened! Jeff also found that it works a lot better with some extra weight above the auger – hence the creative rigging of cement blocks 🙂
The posts line up with those we set last year – our “Apache” patch, which is now in its third year … and looking amazing!
It seems that we are spending every nice afternoon and weekend trimming and weed-whipping our blackberries. The established rows (all 5 of them), were not that difficult, since we did some preliminary trimming and tying up last fall. For those rows, none of the branches could reach the ground, re-root and send runners. We snipped off all the old “ties” and re-tied the branches with baler twine.
But the other 8 rows are a different story – there we need to find the plant (next to the irrigation hoses close to an emitter), weed around it, and trim it back. Jeff likes to call this “aggressive trimming” – he wants all the energy of the plant to go into root development, not into any sort of fruiting effort for this year. Plants in these 8 rows are only in their second year. After all this, we then weed-whip around the rows until everything looks perfectly clean. Only problem is that once in a while, the weed-whip tears off one of the emitters – it does not break them, but we need to make sure that we stick the emitter back in before the water is turned on.
We had to wait a couple of days for the ground to get dried up enough so that we could finally plant our blueberries. But after two sunny days, we finally were able to finish planting the new patch this evening. We now have 3 rows of 14 blueberry plants, 10 feet between rows, and 6 feet between each plant (just like our blackberries). This patch is right next to the fruit trees, and above the elderberries – and there is still enough space for some other fruit or more trees. Playing with the idea of some currants for next Spring – to make some different kinds of jam. Also tranplanted more blackberries and got some carrots from the garden!
Our existing berry plants have sent out so many “runners”, which have rooted, that we can’t even mow in-between the rows. So as an experiment, we started digging out the rooted “babies”, and we are planting them in a new patch – in October. For the past several years, we have been transplanting in the spring – which worked fine, except for the fact that there is so much else to do in the Spring. We’ll see how this works…they are just extra plants, so if it does not work, we’ll go back to Spring transplanting. Jeff still uses his spray-paint on a stick contraption to mark exact spacing (in addition to metal posts and string as guides) This new patch currently has 6 rows, spaced 10 feet apart, and long enough for 36 plants. The plants are spaced at 6 feet apart.