[nafex] Berry Report
dyellman at earthlink.net
Fri Aug 18 04:19:28 EDT 2000
1. Not much happening on the board these days. Time for a berry
2. Back in late '99 I went to the board for advice on replacements for
the Shawnee blackberries that I had finally torn out. I was interested
in both blackberries and raspberries, and got some excellent
suggestions. I doubt that I would have chosen or even found these
varieties had it not been for these recommendations. As we approach
late summer, I have some very positive, if preliminary results to
3. Triple Crown Blackberry: Sourced from Indiana Plant & Berry. I
have seldom seen a plant grow with such vigor as this cultivar. Some of
the canes would have grown well over 12 feet had I not pinched them back
to encourage laterals, which are also forming freely. Bear in mind that
they have only been in the ground for less than four months.
Fortunately, I built a sturdy support trellis with landscape timbers,
2x4's, and no. 9 wire, and have something to tie them to. They are well
sited, in full sun with enriched soil, and we have had regular rains
this year, but even with these advantages their growth has exceeded
expectations. Absolutely no disease problems. Not even one wilted
leaf, even though they were planted right where I tore out the
Shawnees. A few berries were produced on the old canes of the
transplants, and they were of excellent quality. I have always believed
that the thorny varieties would produce more from a given space, but I
don't see how Triple Crown can fail to outproduce the Darrow and Shawnee
berries I have grown before --- if the canes winter over successfully.
I won't miss pruning and weeding those thorny berries, nor picking
little thorns out of my fingertips. I expect to get a very large crop
from these berries next year --- only the 2nd season.
4. Doyle Blackberry: I thought these plants were expensive when I
ordered them --- $18 per copy -- so I only put in four. But when they
arrived I could see why. They are airshipped from Severtson Farms, and
I have never seen a more careful packing job. Most of the cost of these
plants is in packing and shipping, apparently because their tissue
culture propagation method results in small, growing potted plants, not
dormant stock from the nursery row. The Doyle plants are not yet
showing the vigor of the Triple Crowns, but perhaps that is partly a
first-year difference due to the distinct plant type. At this stage,
canes are of notably smaller caliper than the Triple Crowns, but some
have reached the top of the 6-foot fence and have been pinched back. It
may well be that it takes a little longer to establish the Doyle, but
they may also turn out to be more productive, plant for plant, than any
other blackberry, just as their grower claims. I am not really clear on
why the Doyle is exclusive to Severtson Farms. Their literature does
not state that they hold a patent on the variety, but they are
apparently the only producer and distributor. Whatever the case, they
do a very fine job of getting the plants to you in good condition, and
you pay a little for that.
5. Baba Raspberry: Recommended to me by a couple of PNW nafexers, and
obtained for me by a Calif. nafexer when I couldn't find a source.
Several years ago, I had pretty well given up on red raspberries
(Taylor, Heritage and Latham) because of sparse production, mildew
problems, and crumbly berries. So far, the Baba is a different story.
In June, a few berries formed from the original canes of the plants, but
as the plants put on new growth and began to sucker, the new plants also
bloomed and set fruit which we are picking now. This was an unexpected
development, which I am at a loss to explain. I believe this is a
summer bearing variety, but it is behaving like a fall bearer. It may
be that the canes fruiting now will not produce again next summer, but
there are enough new canes from the vigorous suckers that I expect lots
of fruit next June no matter what happens. Flavor is a subjective
judgment, but the Babas sure taste like raspberries to us, and there are
many more of them than I anticipated at this stage. This may be a West
coast variety, but if my experience is typical, they also adapt well to
our humid, Eastern climate. There are a number of other new raspberry
varieties around, such as Killarney, that seem highly regarded as well,
but based on my experience so far, I think I will stick with the Babas.
6. Fallgold Raspberry: Sourced from Indiana Plant & Berry. This is
the only berry I planted this spring that has been a disappointment so
far, but I think there is hope. Half the plants (5 out of 10) died, and
the original growth from the remaining five does not look good.
However, some new suckers are starting to show up that look healthy, not
yet showing any wilt. The original plants set a few berries that I
would describe as raspberry candy. The sweetest berry I have ever
eaten. Kids love them. Obviously, these berries are intended to be
eaten fresh, perhaps with a little cream (no sugar). They would be lost
in a jam or any use that requires cooking. I will nurse them along, but
may have to use some kind of fungicide on the canes, although I would
prefer not to. I don't really know what is causing the leaf dieback, or
what I would use to fight it, but if anyone has any suggestions they
would certainly be welcome. These berries are a unique fresh treat, and
I would hate to give up on them, but they are apparently more
susceptible to wilt than the Babas.
7. Just returned from the nafex 2000 meeting at Charlottesville,
Virginia. What a great time we had. I don't expect to miss any more of
these until they pry the pruning shears from my cold, dead hand.
Rgds, Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA
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