Saturday, July 4, 2015

Blueberries for the Fourth of July

It's been hot hot hot here. It hit 100 degrees by the end of June, and there's been no rain for several weeks. Weird weather and hopefully not a permanent change, but with global warming, it may be. It's feeling more like California than northeast Washington state.

I've got some delicious berries ripening. One thing berries need is a lot of water. We went to a beach on the Snake river last week and already there were blackberries ripening, almost a month early. But the fruit was small and hard because of lack of water. The berries I'm getting at home are sweet, full and delicious. That's because they're being watered like crazy.

The blueberries are amazing. My bushes are only a year old, but are producing several small clusters of berries already. Just enough to snack on as I walk along with the hose. The "hardyblue" bushes look bushy and full. The "bluerays" look a bit tall and scraggly, but are beginning to fill out as new shoots come up from the ground.  And both of them taste out of this world good, with a wild, tangy flavor I've never had from a store berry. I can't wait until they produce enough to make a pie!

Some people say you can't grow blueberries where we live, but mine both at this house and our previous house have done great. I mixed the soil half and half with peat moss when I planted them (to make it more acid), and I mulch for the winter with abundantly available free pine needles. If you ask to rake up and collect a neighbor's pine needles, they will never say no. The bushes also do not seem bothered by the hot sun like my currants and gooseberries, which are looking pretty sad.

There's a robin that flies down and hops around the edge of my spray as I water the hill in back. Perhaps my watering raises up some nice juicy worms for him. But thankfully, so far the birds are leaving the blueberries alone. At my old house I never got to eat a one ripe berry, because the second they turned truly blue, the birds ate them all.