I can’t really take credit for it, but I have noticed each year that from May through October there is a lovely succession of berries that happens in our garden. In fact, if I can’t find a bowlful for breakfast every morning I feel shockingly deprived!
The first fruits to ripen in May are the everbearing Seascape strawberries. Then just as the first big flush of fruit is finished the red raspberries do their spring thing. This year we actually had enough to stuff our faces every time we walked by, have a bowl for breakfast every day, AND freeze 10 or so quarts! That’s truly a first.
The wild Woods Strawberries came on about that time too. This is the first time we have had more than the odd little treasure now and then. Perhaps it was all the rain we got last winter, I don’t know, but they are the most delicious of all strawberries and it was a delight to be able to actually get little handfuls to eat at one time! It just occurred to me that the ones that produced the most were the groundcovering I planted by the pond. This batch is watered regularly, so maybe they will produce like that every year! That would be very nice…
The first light fruiting of the gold raspberries came on just as the red ones were finishing up and carried us through to the July flush of Seascape that are coming on now. The July crop is much tastier than the spring ones. In the past the raccoons would get most of the early ones – when they weren’t quite ripe! Then they always seemed to decide that strawberries weren’t all that great and would leave the rest of the seasons berries alone! This spring they didn’t come around at all – so we got ALL the Seascapes! The July and August strawberries are the ones I freeze because we actually get more than we can eat each day.
The Alpine strawberries are going strong now, too, and I have planted little borders of them all over the place. I started both yellow and red ones from seed years ago and although they don’t spread by runners – which is nice because they make such a pretty little border plant – you can divide them after a few years and end up with LOTS of plants. The “yellow” ones – which are more ivory than yellow – have a touch of pineapple to the taste and are my favorites, although the red ones can be as good as the wild strawberry if you pick them at just the right time.
The thornless blackberries are beginning to ripen now, too. I started out with 4 plants and each winter at least one of the long “branches” manages to tip-root itself and I have a new plant or two to move out to the orchard fence in the spring. It’s very shady there but my philosophy is SOME fruit is more than NO fruit and they are a pleasant plant to deal with since they have no thorns. I just wind them through the orchard fencing as they grow.
The early blueberries in the hazel grove ripened and got eaten by the towhees that live here year round. They share the chicken food too. They are pleasant birds to have around and sometimes sleep in the potting shed on a cold rainy night. I have made several plantings of blueberries and the little Sunshine Blue’s seem to be fruiting best of all. It may be that Sunshine Blue’s ancestry is the southern blueberry which can take much more shade. I think shade is the biggest challenge for some fruits and veggies here.
The grapes come on toward late August along with the fall crop of raspberries – both red and gold, and the last big crop of Seascape strawberries. We invariably have many unripe strawberries when the first frost hits sometime in late October.
This doesn’t take any of the tree fruit into account – the apple, pear, persimmon, cherry, mulberry and fig – or the large bush fruit, the pomegranate, pineapple guava, pawpaw and elderberries. The hazelnuts are truly “heavy” with nuts this year! If I can beat the squirrels and the jays to them I might have a good batch to store for winter eating. Again – the extra winter rains might be the reason why. I don’t know. But this is definitely being a berry, berry good year – if you will pardon me saying so…. None of the apples even put on flowers this year, but the berries are doing their darnedest to make up for it! Wahoo…..