Spuds and berries: an update on the garden front.

I think I should never, ever speak of how well things are going for any garden plant I ever grow. Over the last few weeks, since the last time I wrote about them, the potatoes have begun to be attacked by something that eats holes in their leaves. The leaf eating hasn’t seemed to damage the plants……yet, and I remain hopeful that they’ll survive and thrive.

Readers of my other blog will remember my past writings about my berry patch. For those of you new to the story, one plant I keep year-in, year-out is a patch of black raspberries. Formally known as a “bramble”, mine patch is hardly that organized. When I first started growing berries, I read through tons of garden catalogs, trying to find plants that would produce the types of berries I once picked wild along the road: tart, dark berries that could go equally well over ice cream, into pies or into a jar as jam. The best match I could find was a black raspberry strain known as “Cumberland”, a plant that, so the catalog said, was a delicate vine indeed. As I remember it, the description made it sound as though a stout breath could damage these plants, so I made sure to buy lots and plant them widely.

Well, the catalog lied, BIG TIME!

Since I planted that initial patch, I have not had to worry about anything but the distinct possibility that I might wake some morning to find myself surrounded by raspberries, unable to get out of my place of residence by any other means that a sharp machete, vigorously swung. This year, as of Saturday last, there were some berries showing color, making the transition from green, unripened fruit through their red stage to the final black, ripe stage. By this morning, I noticed some ripe berries and resolved to wade in and see just how many I actually had. Going raspberry picking is a job not for the faint of heart. These are plants with thorns that seem to be able to get through just about anything, given the right chance. So, to get into the plants, and you really do have to get in, right among them, you dress appropriately: long sleeved shirt, blue jeans, heavy boots. So this is not something you do when it’s warm, doubly so when it’s actually hot. Problem: mosquitoes love the evening, and where I live, you go out without protection and you end up feeling like you’ve been in a close encounter with Dracula. Worse, we’ve had a couple of wet days of recent locally, so the mosquito crop is at a near-bumper level. To make a long story short, I waded in, and a half an hour later I waded back out with a pint of berries in my possession and what felt like a pint less blood in my system. Things will get more…..interesting from here on. At peak, the berries can produce about a gallon of berries a day, so I expect to be making many more contributions to the Mosquito Reproduction Fund in the near future.

Is it worth it?

HELL YES IT IS!

More as the days go by…….

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