I don’t know of anyone who’d turn down a ripe blueberry. Ours are just now beginning to turn blue. At first you see them go from looking sort of gaunt to suddenly being very plump but still green. After they plump up they start taking on a purplish hue before they go to a blue. It seems like I always jump the gun.
This is the third season for some of our berries and they are increasing in their berry production as well as getting fairly large. They are planted next to the border of the deck and they are fast becoming a food hedge. We don’t lose any berries to birds in this area, I suppose due to the proximity of us and the dogs.
They get pretty good sun especially in the morning. We could probably get ripe berries a couple weeks sooner if the location had sun all day but waiting a while isn’t a big deal.
Raspberries are beginning to ripen also. There is now a large patch of them on the fence side of the deck that has come back from last year. They’ve also spread some either through runners or seed from last year. Raspberries are much more difficult to see and pick out than blueberries. The canes will droop over and hide lots of berries and you need to lift those up to see what’s under there and raspberries are very thorny.
All of the new varieties that we planted lower down in the site are growing but it is too shady there for them to really go strong. We had to get them into the ground because they had been sitting around as bare-root plants for weeks because I couldn’t decide where to plant them. We put them in the old test swale as a last resort. They are living and some have some blooms but they aren’t’ going to make any fruit to speak of. We will be able to make cuttings however that we can relocate into better locations later.
I wish that I could report that the juneberry has fruit but it doesn’t. I don’t know whether it is because it is too shady or not mature enough. This will be it’s third season as well. It has grown a lot the last two years but the first year it grew faster than any other tree in the yard.
The gooseberry plants are doing just fine but they have not set any fruit yet either. I thought that I had lost one of the gooseberry plants to the cold but lately it has really come back strong.
The wolfberry/goji bush has grown like mad. It seems to double every summer. It produced lots of fruit last fall and I expect the same thing this fall as well. I have propagated it to all over the yard but it seems like the original spot works the best for it, which makes sense because it is the sunniest.
Shade is a tough situation to work around for growing food. I don’t see/hear a lot of people talking about it. It seems like most of the time people are describing vacant lots or fields without tall trees. The row of back yards our house is adjacent to have mature poplar/tulip trees in them. I would say they are fifty to sixty feet tall. The main two in our yard are probably four to five feet in diameter as are the others next door which creates a nearly complete canopy. There’s too many benefits from them otherwise so shade is just something that we have to deal with. Peach and pear seem to grow well under them though the fruit has yet to come to fruition. Maybe next season. Now there are lots of apples under the poplars as well. I don’t think that it hurts the fruit trees to be in shade, I think it just slows them down some. Vegetables are a completely different story, shade seems to stop them in their tracks. Grapes too. Pokeweed grows nearly as well in full shade as in full sun. There is a five foot tall wild lettuce specimen growing in total shade back there as well.