Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Special delivery

Last Thursday, finally, a Speedee Delivery truck drove up with a delivery for us! Two very large and quite heavy boxes.

The box on the right contains trees and taller bushes/shrubs. The box on the left had the blueberries, strawberries, and so forth.

We had been preparing for this day for some time. Jeremy had staked out where all these berries would be going and last week I started digging holes. You should just be able to see seven holes in this picture. There are two more behind me and another three beyond where you can see.

Jeremy busied himself with pH tests and collecting soil amendments, compost, manure, peat moss, bone meal, and all sorts of crazy things. I'm the sort of person that says, "Let's just plant these! The soil is fine! The plants will be fine!" But Jeremy wants to study everything and make sure every plant is going into the most ideal location with the most ideal soil environment. It's possible the plants will do better his way, but I'm sure they would have done just fine my way. =)

We had someone visiting so we couldn't get to the plants till around 5 or 6. Jeremy, of course, had to run off and collect just a few more amendments we needed. We dumped peat moss, composted manure, bone meal, and some other things into all the blueberry holes. Then we got down on our knees and mixed everything up inside each hole. Then each of the blueberries was lovingly planted and watered. We got 4 Patriot blueberries, 4 Blue Crop blueberries, and 4 Jersey blueberries.

The sun had set by then and the light wasn't so good, but we decided to press on. Jeremy staked out holes for the cranberries and lingonberries. We put a bit of compost or peat moss or something or other (hey - I'm just the labor here!) and some bone meal into each hole and mixed things around then lovingly planted and watered those plants. We've got 5 teeny little lingonberries and 15 Pilgrim cranberries.

It was 10:30 at night when we finally called it quits! It was so dark I couldn't see what I was digging, how deep I was digging, or if I was in the right spot. Jeremy had his headlamp on and a shop light pointed at the terrace, but it was still dark. Why on earth would we stay up so late planting you ask? It's not that we had to. As long as the plants are kept in the shade and cool they'll be fine for several days before planting. We were just so excited to plant them!

Here are the blueberries in the light of day (which I guess you can only tell because of the absence of the big gaping holes in the ground):

We came back later and put down pine bark mulch and rabbit fencing around each one.

Friday we got to work early on the strawberries and other plants. We had ordered 15 Ozark Beauty strawberries (they're ever-bearing) and 10 Honeoye strawberries (they'll all produce at one time in June). But as we pulled the bare-root strawberry plants apart, we saw that we got more like 20 to 30 of each! No complaining here though. We just dug more holes - and of course put in amendments, planted and watered. I put in little white tags to mark where they were because some of them were so small.

The strawberries, lingonberries, and cranberries (as well as one blueberry) were all planted on the terrace, which is looking pretty amazing:

This is what the cranberries look like up close:

Saturday and Sunday Jeremy worked to plant the rest:
Three American hazelnuts on the back side of the terrace
One Shagbark Hickory out in the boulevard strip (in the middle of the rain garden I dug last year)
Two Red Lake Currants
Five Consort Currants
One Pixwell Gooseberry
Two Hinnomaki Gooseberries
and One American Elderberry

We definitely have a full yard now!

I'm not sure when any of these will produce. It's possible the blueberries will produce this year, but maybe not. This first year with the strawberries we'll (gasp!) pinch off all the blossoms. This encourages them to grow stronger roots and everything else (instead of putting all their energy into berries). It's an awful thing to do, but anyone who has done it swears by it, so we'll do it too. I don't think the Shagbark Hickory (a nut tree) will produce anything for like 15 years. Yeah, that's a long term investment I guess.

But I suppose any planting of fruit trees, fruit bushes, or perennial plants is a long-term investment. It's my kind of investment portfolio!


Anonymous said...

It's so nice to seeothers excited about berries. I love my bluberries and raspberries like nothing else in my garden! But, could you consider keeping peat moss out of your garden? It's rarely sustainably harvested and I hate to see one habitat destroyed to make another. Compost is such a great soil additive and is a win-win solution. Happy gardening and enjoy your berries!

Aimee said...

Thanks Anonymous. =) Jeremy has been avoiding using peat moss for some time because of this very reason. There are many other places we've heard recommendations for using it but we've resisted.
Compost is a great additive, but not necessarily a replacement for peat moss. I don't know everything behind why he opted for it this time (he did the research!) but I know he is obsessed with making the berries survive and thrive.

One thing we learned is that our city water is very base (like 8 on the scale I think). So don't water your acid-loving blueberries with water from the tap! (At least in Minneapolis.) Thank goodness for our water barrels - water from the sky will do just fine. =)