Stephanie Ladwig-Cooper 's Profile
Stephanie Ladwig-Cooper
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Joined:
03/02/2011
Last Updated:
18/02/2011
Location:
Chico, California, United States
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Mediterranean
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Female
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https://www.gaiacreationsecoland.com/





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Berries, Trellising and Harvest

Posted by Stephanie Ladwig-Cooper almost 8 years ago

A short but sweet article about berries and how we trellis them for harvesting. I used Google SketchUp to refined a berry trellis design which allows for easy harvest and tons of yield.

Marionberries on trellis

Eating berries is one of my favorite summer activities. Saving them for later use is also a favorite past time. There are many ways of preserving berries -making jams and jellies, canning or freezing them whole or even dehydrating them for a hiking snack with nuts and seeds. Anyway you do it berries are an awesome treat.

As I sweat over the baskets of ripe sweet abundance I’m harvesting I think of the cold and wet time of the year I’ll be able to eat them. It cools me off and makes me happy to wipe my brow. Then I know I’m able to pull some berries out of the freezer mid-winter to add to my oatmeal with a little crème fraiche and maple syrup –it’s something I can look forward to when I’m spending time harvesting the berries during the hot summer months.

 

Frozen Boysenberries

Most berries (while technically not true berries they are an aggregate fruit made of druplets) are easy to care for. You do need to make sure they have ample water during the dry season which is easily achieved with a drip system.  You can also guild build the berries by planting under and in between them to help cover the soil for added moisture retention. Using plants with multiple functions is an added treat.  For example, borage will help bring in pollinators for increased berry yield, they have edible blue flowers and are a dynamic accumulator plant. For a refreshing summer drink we’ll add borage flowers, applemint and fresh berries to our lemonade.

Borage flowers with pollinator honey bee

Without going into tremendous detail on Berry pedigree Boysenberries (and Olallaberries, Marionberries, Loganberries etc.) are a hybrid cross between Blackberries and Red Raspberries (respectively) and produce trailing canes which need help off the ground for easier harvest.  When the berry plants are dormant in winter you need to ensure old canes (the canes which flowered last year) are cut back so new canes can grow in easily; most Blackberries and Boysenberries flower on canes in their second year so ensure you are only cutting some of the canes from which you harvested berries. Overcrowding of canes can limit the yield of your berry harvest so this type of seasonal pruning is important.

Red Raspberries are a little different; they can flower on their first year’s growth and can provide two harvests in one season or with some cultivars they are ‘everbearing’ producing raspberries all season long –as long as you continue to pick them! True Red Raspberries generally have an erect growth habit and can spread vigorously so make sure you give them some room so they won’t be a constant maintenance issue. Any ‘suckers’ which appear out of place can be potted up and given to friends or family –they make a great gift!

Harvesting berries tends to be one issue that folks encounter if not trellised well. We've found the trellis design below to be one of the best methods to help the upward growth of all types of trailing berries to make it a lot simpler for harvesting.

 

Berry Trellis Design using Google SketchUp

The trellis has 3 sets of wires up the main 4x4 post each spaced apart differently. The bottom wire is spread about 2’ feet wide while the middle wire is closer together –on the 4x4 post itself. The top wire is spread about 3’ wide allowing the trailing canes to grow up through the bottom wire, then in the middle wire (though not all will), then up again through the top wire and out. This provides an excellent pattern for airflow and harvest giving the berries a support network which produces tons of berries that are easy to pick.

We currently have a few Thornless (or prickle-free according to the experts) Boysenberry plants for sale. These berries are sweet and juicy and are excellent for jams or pies and freeze well too. The thornless variety of berries are by far the easiest to pick when trellised as they never poke your arms or fingers as you reach through the canes to harvest!

Thornless Boysenberry

 

Berry%20trellis%20design

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Jodell Bumatay
Jodell Bumatay : Hello. I have interesting trellis designs for my yard. I have several dogs and dog houses. By accident, I discovered my blackberry canes grow nicely over the top of non-wood dog houses. The wood dog houses rotted after a few seasons. But the replacements works well for laying the cane over the tops. That gave me the idea that actually, more animal shelters could be designed with the purpose of growing edible plants on top. For intance, I have my potted potatoes growing on top of one dog house because one dog likes to dig the potatoes up. That made me realize that an animal shelters could have two or three stories for vining plants. I spray water outside and inside their dog houses to keep the spiders and bugs that might bite them out of their shelters. In addition, I use blackberry and raspberry canes around entry areas, large windows and areas I want to keep people out of in the urban environment. I have a mix of thorny and thornless-mostly thornless. My next project is to design a portable but stable privacy hedge for my home. Your design has some elements of being able to build a semi-permaent fence-like structure to grow canes as a border between my lawn and the neighbor. I am choosing caneberries because that is the area that gets sun all day. I am working on designing a means to place seasonal vegetables between cane trellising stations--two or three structures maybe.
Posted almost 7 years ago

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