Garden

Finish Planting the garden boundary fence: Trailing berries and Grapes

Small Fruit in the Home Garden has been my favorite resource in planning berry plants. Fencing along the boundary of the garden will be filled out with grapes, blackberries and raspberries. Japanese wine berries already are naturalized along the permanent fencing which is cause for celebration and concern. Celebrate the fact that raspberries grow naturally with no management but concern for potential disease sharing.

Grapes

I am not a substantial consumer of grapes, but I do enjoy them on occasion plus they may sell well and are a productive perennial. I do hope to find seedless varieties, but that won’t be a limiting factor in selection. Additionally variety will be determined by what is available. However there are a few to note and set the initial sights on. From the resource linked above:

Steuben is a blue-black variety ripening about one week after Concord. The berries are medium in size with a sweet, spicy flavor. They keep well in storage. The vines are hardy, vigorous, and productive.

Himrod, a new golden-yellow grape, has good flavor and is almost seedless. Hardy, vigorous, and productive, it has been superior to its sister seedling, Interlaken, in areas where both have been grown.

Concord is by far the most widely planted blue-black grape. The good-quality fruit ripens unevenly some seasons in warm climates. Concord is an excellent variety for the home gardener! The vines are vigorous and productive.

Carlos, a 1970 introduction from North Carolina, is a perfect-flowered bronze variety, ripening with Scuppernong and similar in size and flavor. It makes excellent white wine and is relatively cold hardy, disease resistant, and productive. It is recommended for both commercial and home garden plantings.

Norton I have no idea what it will take to grow this vine, but I am going to try it as it makes my favorite wine variety. Norton is the result of a crossbred native grape plant and its origin is local (not Shenandoah Valley but Virginia local!)

 

Blackberries

My personal experience hunting and harvesting wild blackberries brings one major association: Snakes.

Fortunately I love snakes and treat them with utmost respect. I volunteered at a nature center as an adolescent which required intricate knowledge of snakes and their handling. Neglecting to wash my hands after handling their live food, I got bit by a kingsnake and have the scars to prove it. I also neglected to tell my mother in case she would prohibit me from continuing my work with the nature center and their snakes but the secret is out now. Sorry about that mom if you are reading!

Besides, snakes are mostly nocturnal and can keep unwanted varmints from stealing my produce. Only one species of snake is venomous here (copperhead) but even still, snakeBros are welcome on my farm.

Also pulled from the publication linked above:

Darrow, more cold hardy and ripening about the first week of August in the Charlottesville area, is a large berry, almost an inch long and 3/4 inch wide. It is glossy black, mildly subacid, and of good quality.

Black Satin is very productive and hardy. The fruit is large, firm, jet-black when fully ripe and has a delicious flavor. Peak quality is attained two to three days after the berry turns black.

Lucretia dewberry, best of the trailing blackberries, is relatively winter hardy, vigorous, and productive. The fruits are very large, often 1 1/2 inches long. It is a sweet berry with a good flavor.

And one more to consider that will likely be planted in the garden without support: Navaho is an erect, thornless, late-ripening blackberry that requires little or no trellising when properly pruned. The fruit shape is conic; the berry size is medium, but very firm; and the flavor is excellent.

 

Raspberries

Black raspberries will be avoided due to their issues with diseases, especially near red raspberries. I will have more than enough dark fruit from the blackberries anyway! However I will try the hybrid purple berries as well as commercially unavailable yellow raspberries for fun.

Latham is the standard, spring-bearing, red raspberry grown in the eastern United States. Plants of this variety are vigorous, productive, and somewhat tolerant to viral diseases. The berries are above average in size, firm, and attractive. The flavor is somewhat tart, but the quality is good. This variety ripens evenly over a long season to mid-July in Zone 5.

Heritage is an everbearing red variety with crops in June and again in the fall. This variety may be annually pruned by simply mowing all tops in late winter. Use of this pruning technique will yield one crop in the fall of each year.

Brandywine is the best purple raspberry available. It ripens later than most red or black varieties. The fruit is large, firm, and quite tart, but of good quality.

Royalty, a new purple raspberry with delicious flavor, very large fruit, and high productivity, is excellent for fresh use and for jam and jelly. It is resistant to mosaic-transmitting aphids and raspberry fruit worm.

Anne Yellow Raspberries are sunshine-colored fruit has a unique flavor with hints of apricot. These large, sweet, firm berries will liven up tarts, jams and salads. They also freeze well. The hardy and productive plant bears in the first year. Cold-hardy and heat-tolerant. Fall-bearing (everbearing) primocane with a summer crop. (source)

 

Here is the plan for the rest of the fence row:

FenceRowTeaser

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