End of Summer 2009
One thing we have learned this past summer for sure is that we have to find a different way of dealing with the runners.
The biodegradable plastic was not a great success.
It broke down in the wrong places, along the sides where we had buried it at the foot of the ridges and thus began flapping in the wind.
This year we have chosen photo degradable plastich mulch. The sun is supposed to break this down in approximately 90 days, so we can plan our planting accordingly.
It is less than half the money of the biodegradable stuff (150 vs 450 for 4000 ft) and stays on long enough to prevent a lot of weeds from maturing.
Strawberries are in bloom too early and we are expecting light freezing temperatures around Mothers Day.
Floating row covers may protect some. Will need more cover next year. Also a good idea to put straw on when the ground is still frozen in late March but when the snow is gone.
Especially the newest transplants seem to be the most impatient ones.
As expected we lost a lot of blooms to the third night of frost which was not announced as such.
Also phytophtera appears to become a bigger problem and we have to find some way of dealing with that. The losses are quite severe in the Jewels. Because of a lot of rain gray rot became a big problem in especially the Jewels. The Cle des Champs seemed to cope better with it. Plant growth was more open too.
Have received StorOx which used to be known as Oxidate, an OMRI (Organic Materials Registering Institute) registered pesticide. It is basically hydrogen peroxide. Strong enough to burn a hole in your shoe. Dilution 1:100. It should take care of most if not all of the leaf diseases, gray rot and crown and root rot, but only as a preventative. So we will have to keep a close watch on the first signs of trouble.
It leaves no residue, is completely safe and there is no last before date.
The Albions appear to be less affected by leaf problems and crown and root rot.
The biggest problem with those could be the wasps later in the year and the tarnish bug who damages the flowers after which the fruit develops poorly (catface, scrunched up, seedy).
We either have to live with it or spray with Sevin, to keep it a little under control.
Sevin is pretty harmless, but deadly for insects and that includes honey bees. So we would have to spray late at night when the bees have gone home. Maybe it takes care of the wasps too, because they don't go home anymore at the end of the season.
End of July
The new plantings are now really taking off.
This year the settling of the runners is a bit easier since these are all on biodegradable plastic mulch, which breaks up easily, so there is rather quickly some more open ground for the new runners to put their roots down.
Even though the Harmonie was listed as moderately vigorous, that does not appear to be the case here. The ten rows are a riot of runners and many mother plants have two or more heads and it was not uncommon to find twenty well developed daughterplants.
The potash and especially the phosphate situation is still of some serious concern. Also the clay is quite heavy.
I think we will apply some super phosphate besides the regular rock, to give some quicker relief.
So far we have used 6-24-24, in order not to get too heavy a canopy as was already the case with the Jewels and with the Albions.
We have started improving the soil structure by applying several loads of wood chips.
Pine and spruce wood chips from Chisholm (Roslin) at a cost of about $6-$7 per cub yard.
We put on 6 loads or a total of about 35 yards.
It should improve soil permeability and in due time organic matter.
We would have liked saw dust, but most of that was spoken for.
However the idea of a wood chip mulch is something to think about. It brings in quite a bit of organic matter, keeps the weeds down and keeps the berries off the ground.
Since the south field is quite heavy clay and quite wet, we have begun thinking of an alternative crop.
Strawberry season was again interesting and for the third year in a row not very profitable.
A cold and wet spring caused the plants to delay fruit set and when set too long too ripen. All this caused a lot of stress on the plants and the initial leaf spot turned into leaf blight even though we sprayed with H2O2 almost every day..
Glad to see the first -albeit small- crop of haskaps which is turning into a winner. Same for the cherries
Carmine Jewel has some crop and Cupid turns out to be the big surprise
Haskap is unlike any other fruit you’ve tried.
Some have compared it’s taste to blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, rhubarb, well ... saskatoons, and black currants. The flavor seems to vary with varieties. They are most often compared with blueberries, but without the seeds. The seeds are similar to that of kiwis, so you don’t even notice them. As for it’s uses, basically anything you would do with blueberries, you could also do with haskap – eat them fresh, in baking, as jams & jellies, frozen, or whatever else you may think of.
So there are a few advantages over strawberries.
There is also the fact that the Haskap is very high in antioxidants and polyphenols. According to some records as high as 5-10 times the value in blue berries