Sunday, 4 November 2012

Berry Berry Nice!

I LOVE BERRIES! So I therefore believe that you can never have enough of them! Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, gooseberries! Bring them on!

In my garden I have a big half wine barrel (pic left) which has a thorn-less raspberry & a blackberry, guarded by a vigilant pukeko! I also have 2 strips of retaining wall that I've made into berry patches around the courtyard. One is a strawberry patch which has about 10 plants in it. The other has a couple of small blueberries & a Goji Berry.

Goji berries if you've never heard of them are the latest power berry. They orignate from China, Tibet & India & are supposed to be wonderful for your health. They are also supposed to be hardy plants & survive the toughest conditions (perfect for my garden!). I haven't seen a berry yet - but this is the year I'm sure! :)

So in my opinion I defiantly DON'T HAVE ENOUGH BERRIES! The problem with berry bushes is that you only get a few at a time - only enough for a short snack! :)

Goji Berry

I really need a berry orchard!

I do love the flowers on the plants & love the rambling bushes that they turn into. I'm sure you can interweave the berry ramblers through a rose on an archway or get a bit creative with them! Plus they are just all small bundles of goodness for you!

I do have berry nasty (haha) memories when I was young - where the thorns would slice you & the berries would be as sour as anything! But I think a bit of modifying on behalf of some horticulture genius means you can get plants without thorns on them now.

Some of the berry plants are a bit tempermental - like blueberries! I'm sure everyone I know who's had a plant has had it just up & die for no reason. Others like raspberries spread & put runners out & are theoretically quite resilient!

One of the major problems to berries are trying to protect the fruit!

* Birds: Those greedy things want our precious berries & are way too clever, finding ingenious ways to break through nets & barriers alike! The only preventative as far as i know is netting & lots of it!
* Rotting: Plants like strawberries that sit on the ground rot when touching the dirt & need straw or mulch to protect them. I think root rot during winter is another problem with them.
* Common diseases: like powdery mildew, rust etc.

So here are my beds as they stand. 
My plan: To prevent those nasty birds major structures are to be constructed!

Strawberry patch

I had leftover bamboo from my trellis projects which has come in handy! I found some cheap bird netting & it sticks relatively well to the bamboo! I did try to get it to bend around over the beds in a semi-circle, but it just broke, even though it was green bamboo! So this is the next best option! To make it tight to the ground I just pegged it in with some smaller pieces of bamboo like stakes. I didn't end up doing one over the wine barrel, as last year I never had any issues with 'things' eating those berries! Maybe they are just a bit too tang for the average bug! :)

Pity that its not going to stop the pests or the ant colony that's decided my strawberries are theirs for the eating! 

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