Transplanting Blackberries in October

marking the spaces for plants

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.

Trellis and Irrigation in the Blackberries

 Finally finished running all the wire in the 5 rows of last year’s plants, and started tying up all the berry shoots that are about 4 feet tall already.  Also ran the rest of the irrigation lines in the 8 new rows – so far got emitters installed in one and half rows.
The elderberries that we planted last year near the fruit trees are growing (and blooming) nicely:

Getting Corn Planted and Berries Weeded

Jeff planted our corn this weekend – on what used to be a pasture, but recently plowed under, field – right above the “pea patch”.  We planted two varieties this year, 5 lbs of Silver King and 2 lbs of Sugar Baby.

Silver King is a sweet white corn, about 82 days to maturity, ears should be about 8″ long.
Sugar Baby is a sweet bi-color, early maturing corn – about 65 days to maturity.  This is a new one for us, we are just experimenting…whereas the Silver King has been great for us in the past.

Also spent every evening this week cultivating the Apache blackberries by hoeing around the plant, then using the small rototiller between the plants and finally the big rototiller along each side for the entire length.  It was worth it.  As soon as the Triple Crown berries are a little taller, we’ll do the same for those.

500 More Blackberries!

We learned a lot from last year’s planting and had a much more efficient system going this year, when we planted our second “batch” of blackberries. We knew the plants were to arrive sometime last week, so we spent every evening setting end posts for the trellis system and marking out the rows.  Our rows are 10 feet apart (marked those with string), and the plants are set 4 feet apart – used orange spray paint to mark each spot.  So when the 500 Triple Crown plants arrived late on Wednesday afternoon we were set to go.  We only had enough daylight left that evening to set 50 plants, but Thursday and Friday evening, after work, we got another 100 plants into the ground – Jeff and Lars used the rototiller to dig holes, Tina followed and planted. 
We finished the rest of the planting on Saturday – which was good, because on Sunday we got one heck of a storm.  Heavy rain and blustering wind quickly turned to ice and snow. We lost power late in the evening and by Monday morning, 7 of our largest pine trees had been knocked down 🙁 
It was an extreme temperature change, we went from seeing the first crocus on Saturday to having ice and snow the next evening.  But we did order our first set of grape vines:  200 Chambourcin should be shipped in early April.