Posts Tagged ‘blueberries’

Castles and Spuds

IMG_0310Here is another photo of the blueberry castle all finished. The last post had a photo taken before it was done.

Also I’ve attached a photo of my wee potato box. My brother gave me two potatoes from his kitchen that had sprouted. One is a sweet potato and one is a russet. I planted the sprouted eyes in one of the garden boxes. Today I created a small box so I could build up the soil around the sprouts. As they grow up I have another bottomless box that will go on top to deepen the growing area. Maybe I will get a couple spuds!

IMG_0308I cut the grass and watered today. It is hot today (89F) and muggy. It was so muggy I retreated indoors. I hate the heat and hate muggy heat all the more. I could never live in a humid climate.

We are usually spared excessive humidity here but when it comes it saps all my energy.

Happy Gardening,

Dan Murphy

Blueberry Castle

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Lawn & Blueberries

We have six blueberry plants in our back yard. Two are early bearing, two are mid-season and two are late bearing. We are not the only ones however who love the blueberries. We have many birds, especially scrub jays, who love the blueberries. Thus I must cover the berries with bird netting to save some for us to eat.

The first couple of years I put up PVC pipe hoops over the berry plants and draped the netting over that. That worked but was less than satisfactory. It did not look very nice and the hoops did not always remain vertical. The biggest problem was that it was hard for me to get to the blue berries.

Last weekend I replaced the hoops with the wooden structure shown in the photo on this page. It will allow for more growth of the plants, it makes it easier for me to roll up the netting to get to the berries and I hope it looks better overall. And, I got to do some wood working which I very much enjoy.

The photo of the “castle’ below is before I removed the hoops – they are gone now.

IMG_0305The blue berries have done well this year and we have had a good crop. This is their third season and they have prospered. I will actually have to prune them some this fall.

Succession Planting

This year I have been more serious about succession planting than in past years. The goal is to get more production out of the garden space during the season.

Date of Planting/Expected Picking Date—

Lettuce:
5-12/7-12
6-1/8-1
7-15/9-15
8-1/10-1

These are rough estimates. While the seed packages show date to pick at 60 days more or less a number of factors change that including sun exposure, watering, etc.

Beets:
5-12/8-1
6-5/9-1
7-15/10-15

Spinach:
5-15/7-15
7-15/9-15

In addition, I anticipate planting some fall vegetables that will be available in late fall and winter. A few may even over-winter for next spring. These will be root crops and broccoli/cauliflower.

It will be interesting to see how they actually work out. I will post actual picking dates later on this year.

Progress Report

Currently the garden is happy. I have no major pest problems and few weeds. Since much of the garden is still in small seedlings they require very frequent watering. We have not had any sustained heat as yet so the tomatoes and peppers are growing very slow.

I was able to pick some young and extremely tender butter lettuce this last week and will need to thin them further today or tomorrow. Made an excellent salad.

I failed to cover the blueberries quickly enough with netting and the scrub jays relieved us of the early bearing berries. I only got a couple handfuls. I’ve covered them now and hope to get most of the late bearing crop for us.

Happy Gardening,
Dan Murphy

Jay’s Blueberry Breakfast

Jay's Blueberry Breakfast

Jay’s Blueberry Breakfast

Next time someone calls you a bird brain, be proud.

Last year I planted six blueberry plants in a box in the middle of the back yard. This year three of those plants are loaded with berries. Our yard is a bird haven and so I knew I had to protect these gems from the birds. So, I draped bird netting over four sticks to cover the plants as soon as the berries appeared in June.

The netting did not totally reach down to the ground all the way around. In one place there is a two foot gap between the netting and the ground. I hoped the birds would not figure that out, or would be so intimidated with all that draped netting that they would not go near it. I knew I might be wrong and time would tell.

I underestimated the Jay. In my area we have scrub jays. They are noisy, large, aggressive birds. They chase away other birds, something I do not like. However over time the jays in my area have come to live with their feathered cousins better than a few years back. Despite their behaviors I like the jays. They are smart and fun to watch.

On Friday last my wife texted me late in the morning with the photo on this page. This jay perched on the back of the chair you see at left and carefully examined this blueberry quandary. After checking it out visually he figured out quickly there was an opening he could enter and swooped down onto the planter box through that opening. He then hopped in and began having his blueberry breakfast.

When he was done he buried a few of the berries in the grass, a typical jay practice, and then flew up to the fence and squawked loudly. My wife believes he was telling all his fellow jays about the feast at hand. Maybe. I think he was announcing to the world how much smarter he was than a mere human.

The photo my wife took is of the jay as he left the box right before flying to the fence.

For this year I’ve decided to share my blueberries with the smart jays. Next year however they will not have a chance. I’ve already designed five panels of bird netting that will entirely cover and encircle the berries. The jay won’t have a way in. He will be frustrated no doubt and will likely squawk about it, but will have to go elsewhere for his breakfast.

Maybe, just maybe, I will be smarter than the jay.

Happy Gardening,

Dan Murphy

Veggie Garden – June 20

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Asparagus

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Cantaloupe

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Broccoli, Cauliflower, Tomatoes, Peas

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Tomatoes, Broccoli

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Blueberries

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Broccoli, Pepper

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Cauliflower, Tomatoes

Here is the vegetable garden boxes on June 20, 2015. Everything is growing fine. The wee cantaloupe start has now tripled in size. It is surrounded by black plastic.

The tomatoes are setting fruit and growing fine. You cannot see the peas as the tomatoes have grown so fast they are covering up the peas planted behind. The peas should work their way up the wire netting soon. There are peas to pick today.

The asparagus are in full growth – next spring should see the first spears to eat!

The blueberry plants are in their first summer of growth after planting last year. They are loaded with berries.

I have been watering only once a week to stimulate deep root growth. Now that fruit is setting and the weather is promising to get hotter I will water a bit more often.

Happy Gardening,

Dan Murphy

Spring!

Spring has sprung. Day before yesterday was the spring equinox. We now enter the six months of more light. Three months of increasing light followed by three months of diminishing light to bring us back to where we are now in September.

Our weather has been warmer and drier than usual however for the past week we have seen rain. Not a lot of rain, but enough. The weeds are delirious – springing forth in their fastest possible growth mode. Everything that has so far budded out is green and thriving.

032215-1As you see from the photo here the blue berry bushes have tiny buds but are not yet open. They remain leafless and asleep reluctant to awaken fully to spring. This will change soon however.

There are at least 9 asparagus poking up through the ground. You cannot see them in the photos but they are there and testing my discipline – this is season 2 for them and not yet ready for cutting and eating. I will let them grow but wait until next year to harvest. My mouth waters at the thought of truly fresh asparagus from the garden.

Notice the two wire cylinders full of last fall’s leaves. Well, they were full. In November they were heaping full to the top. They have now settled to half full. Before the leaves are done breaking down they will be only a few inches in depth. But long before that I will have to remove them from those garden boxes for planting.

You have cannot help notice the weeds everywhere. My knee is still too painful to kneel on so I am limited to using the hoe. I have to use the hoe a whole lot more though.

032215-2My chief nemesis, the wild onions, are everywhere. I’ve concluded that I must have imported more of them in a load of compost that I brought in last year. Most unfortunate. They must be dug out by hand and it is a formidable job, especially when one cannot kneel.

The bulbs out front are all but exhausted now. We had a beautiful display of daffodils and tulips from late January to just recently. Now only a few tulips and tiny daffodils remain.

Spring is definitely here and it is exciting. The serious work of weeding and soon of planting is upon us. I love it!

Blueberries III

Blueberries-2014-1126The blueberries are now planted. They went in yesterday morning. I added the acid mix as I dicussed in the last post on this and then got the plants at U & D Nursery. They are very knowledgeable at U & D about blueberries.

I planted three varieties, two of each.

For an early bearing plant I chose Duke. They grow 4-6 ft at maturity. The fruit is described as very large and sweet. They usually bear fruit June-July. The fall foliage is orange and yellow.

For a mid season crop I chose Chandler. They grow 5-7 feet high at maturity and spread some. They bear July-August. The fall foliage is wine/orange.

Finally, for a late crop I chose Elliott. They are also 4-6 ft and bear in August-September. The fruit is described as large and tangy. The fall foliage is deep red/wine.

I discussed the spacing with the nursery staff. They thought I might get away with the space I have although it will be crowded. If it turns out too crowded I can always transplant a few to provide space. If that becomes necessary I will move a few of them to a boarder planting area. In any case I will have to prune them each year.

The first season the plants need to get established so I do not expect much fruit. In summer 2016 however we should have all we can use. The photo on this page shows them as they appear today. I cannot wait to taste those juicy berries!