Berry Garden in Late Spring

This spot between our garage and workshop was the original veggie garden when we moved in. Two years ago I switched it over to a perennial garden, with mostly berries and asparagus and a spot for overwintering garlic.

It has really greened you in the last few weeks! Let me tell you about what’s growing.

I planted five currant bushes in an effort to reproduce my grandma Marie’s red currant jam, my favorite as a child. Last year I got a small harvest but this year the bushes are looking lush, with lots of clusters of berries forming. Have you ever had a currant? They are beautiful, like clusters of pearly jewels and have a slightly bitter flavor. The jam reminds me a little of strawberry rhubarb, sweet and tart all wrapped up in one.

My strawberry patch is a little out of hand. Two springs ago I planted 40 strawberry starts, which grew in their first year to probably several hundred. Last year I dug out tons of shoots and gave them away. I put some in my flower beds too. I figured they’d eventually act like a natural mulch and fill in around the other plants. I might regret that decision but for now it’s fun. There’s fruit growing everywhere for me or the animals to enjoy. Last year I harvested 100 pounds of the most delicious strawberries I’ve ever eaten in my life.

Rhubarb is coming back. Last year I made a fabulous strawberry-peach-rhubarb wine.

Blueberry bushes mostly all came back and are flowering. One or two didn’t survive the winter. These bushes are still pretty small. Mostly their berries are eaten as the gardener’s treat, plucked right into my mouth as I work in the garden!

These like bushes are called Aronia berries. They are very small and haven’t produced any fruit yet. The berries are dark purple/blue and full of nutrients and antioxidants. Someday…

My elderberry bushes are enormous and healthy. They put out lots of new shoots/runners this year, pushing their way out into the strawberries. I usually pick some of the flowers which have a creamy/vanilla-y flavor for syrup or jelly then leave the rest to go to fruit which I freeze and use for elderberry syrup all year long. Elderberry has tremendous immune boosting characteristics.

Raspberries, black raspberries and blackberries line the back fence of the garden. These, too, I mostly eat immediately as they ripen. I love to check the fence when I go out to check on the chickens. I often get a handful of sweet juicy berries to enjoy.

I have two asparagus patches, one a year older than the other. They have just begun sending up shoots in the last couple weeks. Initially I just saw one or two every couple days but now I’m getting a good handful each morning.

If you’ve never had freshly cut asparagus, you can’t even imagine how tender it is, nothing like what you get in the store. I like to cut mine in half and line a piece of homemade sourdough toast smeared with ricotta and a drizzle of lemon juice. Mmmm mmm, it’s the best spring breakfast!

This garlic was planted last fall, grew a tiny bit before the cold set in, and then shot up when it warmed again. I’ll harvest and store these bulbs mid summer. This will be enough garlic to last us most the year. I love heirloom garlic varieties. They have such a robust flavor.

I really like having separate spaces for different types of plants. I’ve shown you my herb garden and perennial/berry garden. My other spaces are for annual vegetables. They have a little less going on at this point, but I’ll share them soon too.

4 thoughts on “Berry Garden in Late Spring

  1. Your garden looks Amazing! Just a hint: My Yorkshire kin put inverted garbage cans over their rhubarb to encourage those long stems you see in the market. It’s not too late!
    Happy gardening and processing and eating!

    Like

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