If you live in the Northwest, you probably heard of Salmonberries but I have not heard of them here in Santa Fe. My neighbor has a Salmonberry bush that produced heavily this year and I got some.
At first I thought it was a gold raspberry but it is not. It’s a beautiful berry similar to a raspberry but more delicate in flavor and is gold-salmon-pinkish color.
The salmonberry, Rubus spectabilis is native to the US Northwest moist coastal regions and some parts of Europe. I wouldn’t think they would thrive in our drier conditions and yet here is one and it is not in a wet area. Traditionally, the berries were eaten by Native Americans with salmon or salmon roe, hence the name. It is sometimes called the Joffelberry as well. What a wonderful treat! They don’t freeze well so we just gobbled them all up!
It’s apricot season and I’ve been picking lots! It’s unusual to get apricots here in Santa Fe (about every 7 years for me) as usually a late freeze comes in spring and freezes all the blossoms, but not this year!
I have a wonderful apricot jam recipe that has St. Germain’s liquor in it. St Germain’s is a liquor made out of elderberries and is delicious by itself but when added to apricot jam while cooking, it gives a wonderful floral nuance to the jam that is delicious. So I am excited to make more this year as I’m down to my last jar of apricot jam. The recipe can be found here.
Wow, what a fruit season it’s been so far-first mega strawberries, then thousands of cherries, now apricots and my neighbor has salmonberries now and coming up right behind will be raspberries and blackberries in another month and then apples in the fall.
AND we haven’t even gotten to the veggies being produced right now but that’s for another post!
My friend, Bob Z has an abundance of Bing cherries on his tree this year. I went by yesterday and helped pick some. Anybody who knows Bob, call him if you want to go pick cherries-pick some for yourself.
I took home 6 lbs of cherries. I use to use a cherry pitter that you did one at a time but a few years ago I got a new NORPRO Deluxe Cherry Pitter that makes it much easier and faster to pit cherries. It took less than 10 minutes to do 3 lbs! Above is a video of it in action.
My strawberries are going nuts this year. This is the biggest crop I’ve ever had in 25 years! I think we’ve harvested about 6 GALLONS of them so far and still more to go. I think it’s because of all the moisture we had this winter and spring AND the Azomite mineral supplement I gave them last year. I’ve taken them to parties, given them to friends who froze some, and I’m am going to make some galettes and strawberry-balsamic jam with some of them and trading Bob’s cherries for some as well (I hope-are you listening Bob?)
Strawberries grew unbelievably with the addition of Azomite last year
As far as perennial fruit goes, I already cut back the new raspberry plants a few days ago. They are a fall variety called Polana from Norse nursery online. They were fantastic last year with us harvesting lots of raspberries in their first year. So this is their first trimming. I trimmed them back within an inch or two of the ground and they are all still alive. I wasn’t sure as I forgot to water them last fall for a few months but with all the precipitation we got this winter, they are fine.
I also cut back the new blackberry plants called Triple Crown, and saw lots of new start-ups that rooted that I will move. Now I won’t have to buy some to finish up the blackberry row. Hopefully I will get blackberries in their second year.
Today I pulled away all the dead leaves around the rhubarb (Victoria) and they are starting to come up too. A very hardy perennial plant.
I checked the strawberries and pulled all the dead borage plants that grow up in the strawberry patch each year from dropped seeds. Borage is a good companion plant for strawberries and the bees love them. The strawberries need a haircut too-but not too short. The strawberries did fantastic last year.
The verdict is out on the artichoke. It came back last year in its second year but I don’t see any signs of life yet this year. They actually are not supposed to be grown here as a perennial because we are in a colder zone than they like, so we will see if it makes it or not.
Next up is to prune back the grapes and the apple trees and other fruit trees. I’m late on the apple trees but they need to be desperately thinned and pruned now before they come back to life. Last year I put Azomite, a mineral supplement, in my veggie garden which really helped the crops and I have some leftover which I will sprinkle around the fruit trees this year.
Still trying to finish up the veggie garden. I better hurry or the season will be over! Still need to transplant some cabbages and amaranth that Alessandra and Chris gave me and some chard. Going to Italy for 2 weeks when I should have been planting put me behind but it was worth it–L’Italia è così bella!
Today I planted 4 Blackberry plants on the garden fence nearest the greenhouse for those of you who know my garden. Triple Crown is the variety and I got them at Newman’s Nursery. Triple Crown is a thornless variety that I first saw in the Master Gardeners Herb Garden that does very well here in Santa Fe. The ones I bought were in 2 gallon containers and cost $15 each which is a bargain and they are in great shape.
Part of the main veggie garden is being devoted more and more to perennial fruit as I have the room. Years ago I planted Himrod grapes, Victoria rhubarb and June-bearing strawberries and added more strawberries this year. All are doing well. In addition, this spring I planted a 30 foot row of Polana raspberries and now these Triple Crown blackberries.
I planted the blackberries this morning before the heat hit. I added some soil amendments and polymer crystals to help keep the water in the the root zone, made a well, put in the drip system with extra emitters as they like water and gave them seaweed and Vitamin-B mix to help with transplant and heat stress. Then I put straw around them to help keep water from evaporating and row cover over them to cut back the sun and heat on the new plants. I’m super excited to be putting in so many berries and can’t wait till next year when I hope I get some to EAT!
Fall harvest in 2016-tomatoes, beets, carrots and kale are just a few of the vegetables still being harvested here on my micro-farm
This has been a most remarkable growing season this year. In fact, I can’t remember in all my 21 years here of weather like this. After two months of unseasonably hot summer weather at the beginning (when the tomato blossoms dropped because it was too hot) and then two months of very cool summer weather (when the tomatoes didn’t want to ripen because they need heat to ripen once they are set) we now have been in an unbelievably wonderful fall. Nice and warm in the 70’s in the day and cool but not freezing nights.
But all this is going to change very quickly now that we are in November. Weather prediction is for it to change to colder weather. Like duh, it’s NOVEMBER dude! Of course it will get colder! My fruit is done-apples (we made hard cider!), apricots, grapes, strawberries and raspberries are done here. Most of my warm season crops are gone (cucumbers, squash, peppers, eggplants, pumpkins, corn, etc. except the tomatoes, my favorite crop!)
Meanwhile the fall harvest continues with tomatoes still ripening (at least this week) and all the cool season crops are kicking it and should be for quite some time if I cover them with winter weight row cover. The kale is going gangbusters, cabbage is ready, onions and potatoes are ready to harvest, carrots and beets are ready to be dug out too and chard is busting out all over. My broccoli and escarole I planted in August at my fall garden class are almost ready too. Then pantry is bursting and the refrigerators and freezers are overflowing too! Enjoy what we still have left of this season!