Luscious Food from Sprawling Crawlers
Blackberries, Strawberries, & Raspberries........... Ahhhh, the taste of summer!
These delicious berries are prolific in the Northwest, and the many varieties and cultivars make harvesting them a summer-long treat. It's almost hard to believe that these wild brambles and creeping vines can produce such luscious fruit. We look forward to this so much, and don't have to do much planning to get them. And why should we? They take little effort to grow and come back year after year! The downside is their growing habit. They can quickly take over vast areas of bare ground, and can be somewhat difficult to tame.
Here are a few ways I handle them, to increase harvest, and minimize effort.
TIP You can shape the area as they grow, or just let them form into a mound where the berries will be abundant and easy to get to when they ripen in the fall.
I like to grow strawberries in pots with the Tier Method. The black pots serve as a heat-sink, absorbing heat during the day and releasing it slowly overnight, keeping the soil warmer longer. The berries ripen faster, PLUS it's a great way to minimize slugs & keep other predators at bay. When the runners start to spread, I put them into one of the adjoining pots, thereby creating an above-ground network of strawberry plants, that produce wonderfully and consistently for the summer. The "mother" plants are viable for 3 years, so to keep your patch going you'll want to separate some of the "runners" which will become the "mother" plants.
TIP Pots get warm & dry, so keeping them watered will ensure the red berries keep coming!!
RED & GOLD
TIP Prune June-Bearing plants after harvest, as these will fruit on OLD wood next season. Everbearing plants fruit early on old wood, and again later on the newer spring growth.