Saturday, February 7, 2015

Blackberries and Artichokes

Garden Goals for 2015 #6 has been achieved:  plant at least three more blackberry bushes.  Check.  On this glorious 70 degree day in Central Texas, I even over-achieved my goal by planting FOUR new blackberry bushes!

Two or three years ago I planted six thornless blackberries (and two boysenberries) bushes along our back fence.  All but one died.  I'm not sure exactly what the primary reason was, but I assume it was a mix of not having the right soil prep, not enough watering during drought conditions, and not mulching enough to keep the weeds and grass from stealing nutrients from the plant.  I also planted the blackberries right up against the chain-link fence, where the deer stuck their muzzles through and gnawed down the canes before they could produce any berries.

The one that remains is either an Arapaho or Ouachita.  I can't remember since I wasn't blogging and keeping very good planting records at the time.  I'm gonna bet that it is an Arapaho, since those do well in this region.

Today I planted four bare-root blackberry brambles purchased from the Natural Gardener in Austin, so all varieties do well in the area.  I got one Roseborough, one Brazos, and two Apache.

  • Apache (Thornless) Medium-large fruit; Ripens early July; Sweet and firm fruit; Erect plant; 1999 release from University of Arkansas; Resistant to rosette disease and orange rust.
  • Brazos (Thorny) Large fruit; Ripens mid- to late May; Soft fruit with tart, acidic flavor; Vigorous grower and heavy producer; Disease resistant; Good for cooking; Very widely adapted to most areas of Texas; Has raspberry and wild dewberry in its parentage; Introduced by Texas A&M in 1959.
  • Roseborough (Thorny) Large fruit; Ripens in late May; Juicy fruit with delicious sweet flavor; Erect plant; Heavy producer; Disease resistant; Released by Texas A&M University in 1977.

I planted them along the back fence again, however with amended soil (compost and manure), as well as far enough away from the fence (about two feet) so the deer can't reach them by sticking their tongues through the chain-link.

You can't see the little bare root brambles very well in this picture, but I assure you, they are there in the center of each wire "tomato cage."  From left to right we have Roseborough, three year-old mystery bramble (Apache?), Apache, Brazos, Apache.  Next weekend I plan to heavily mulch the area to limit competition with weeds and grass.

Another view of the tiny little stick that will one day grow up to be a beautiful blackberry bush (at least, that's what I hope and will work towards).

Also on this beautiful winter afternoon, I planted two more artichoke crowns.  I planted one small artichoke plant (Tavor) last spring, which has not produced for me, yet.  Today I planted two two-year-old globe artichoke crowns, again from the Natural Gardener.

The new artichokes got planted near the Tavor artichoke, on the corner of the deck bed, which gets plenty of sunlight year-round.  My original plant is in the back, and the two new ones are in the front.  Again, kind of hard to see, but they are located in the little holes between the pine mulch.  Artichokes should be planted 3-4 feet apart, but I only planted mine two feet apart.  I guess I will see later if I regret my decision.  I just hope I can harvest a few artichokes this year!


  1. Well I was impressed with your list of 2015 goals just for starters but to think you are actually keeping track as you accomplish each goal! That is worlds beyond my level of organization when it comes to life, not just the garden. Shoot, I feel accomplished putting together a solid list for the grocery store.

    Your fruit and veggie babies are not only adorable but filled with the promise of much deliciousness to come. Well planted and well played. Looking forward to seeing how many berries you get out of your berry patch.

    1. Deb - your comments are the best: hilarious, eloquent, complimentary and thoughtful. I hope I never lose you as a reader/commenter! Every comment from you brightens my day.

      As far as my list of goals...I don't think I would ever get anything done if I didn't constantly make lists and diligently worked to get all (or at least most) of the boxes checked off.