Berry Updates – Year Two Summary
Summary of Progress
This spring we completed the trellis building project and set up the berries for trellising. Over the summer we have continued to tie the berries to the T shaped wire trellises – setting the stage for next year’s harvest. Some canes have reached the top wires (at 5′) and continued to grow feet beyond (we are tying these back to the trellises). Other varieties have just reached the mid-wire height (around 3′). Each berry page on this site includes a picture of the berry on that page where the growth can be seen visually. See the Berry varieties page.
We harvested berries for around six weeks in the spring, picked 2 or 3 times a week, but rarely getting over a pint of any particular variety. Because of the limited quantity we weren’t abe to get a berry size (obtained by counting berries per pint). This fall a couple of varieties have started producing again and we are calculating size on these which are producing more. The harvest was very limited this year, but the patch has continued to get more established and has filled in quite a bit. This fall we will thin the berries where they have filled in to around one cane per foot on average.
Some berries showed signs of nutrient deficiencies early in the season (especially Encore), but cleared up after some time. I am injecting fertilizer into the irrigation system and plan to add a micronutrient rich kelp based fertilizer to the mix soon (so far I’ve used a fish based product).
The second year overall harvest were low. The initial year did establish a nice patch of berries, but the vines didn’t grow that far, most reaching just 2-4′. Then, our area suffered a colder than normal winter and many of the 1st year vines were frozen back to the ground. The lack of established vines greatly reduced harvest.
This fall we have had a resurgence of two varieties – Polana, which is producing a large flush of huge fruit on this year’s canes (primocanes) and Heritage – considered a very reliable producer – which is also filling in. These berries are coming in later than usual, they should be earlier in most years.
The harvest records spreadsheet clearly shows the low quantities. The record also shows the late harvest we are experiencing now. This year everything has been 2-3 weeks later than usual - for all our crops, vegetables and fruits alike. See the Harvest Records page.
Looking forward to next year, I am anticipating a much larger harvest and a better understanding of the relative merits of each of the berry varieties we are trialing. The harvest should be significantly larger – the established vines are much stronger and larger than last fall.
Fall 2011 Berry Patch Photos