Thursday, June 3, 2010

Work Ethic

I wanted to plant blueberry bushes last year and went to a source of information for all things Blue. I am fortunate, again, to live within 20 miles of a local legend and spent a good portion of an afternoon learning the requirements of blueberry shrubs for maximum results.

We live in an exceptionally acidic earth where blueberries thrive. But they still are alittle fussy with their tender feet. The fellow explained the process of ploughing deeply and adding what they want and raising the hills etc. We talked about all he had planted over the years and how he had large peach orchard out back as well but they were alot of work. (that warning won't stop me) This was in early September and I wanted get busy immediately but even at that time, we were constructing the coop and raised bed areas and fencing. Blueberries would have to wait til we finished what we had started there.

I whined and relented. And plotted. I envisioned around 15 bushes. Or maybe 25. I don't remember exactly. I only knew you need to plant enough for you and the birds. I wondered how much they could consume. I KNEW how much we would.

Then for my 50th birthday I received my first 5 bushes from my very good friends and fellow berry pickers. Ah ha! well at least we'd have 5 in the ground!

But Christmas came and went and still they sat in the pots. And I'd stew and wonder when we'd get busy planting them. We talked a lot about where. We argued about how many. And we discussed HOW. Should we rent a digger or buy a tractor? Which tractor? So more research.

You know what it is like to want to buy a car? Try deciding on a tractor. Seriously. Because unlike a car, chances are you aren't going to trading it in anytime in the next 2 decades so you better choose wisely the first time!

Two Words: John Deere

And John got busy with it; he tackled the project one day when I was at work with his new tractor and cultivator and I returned home later that to find 5 beautiful beds. We plunked them in that evening and watered well. It was very early spring and the flowers were just starting to appear so talk about nick of time.

They were doing very well and popping out blueberry buds everywhere and watched with pride until one day I thought I noticed them looking a little empty. But that had to be my imagination. The berries were tiny and green. But a few days later I noticed it again mentioned it to John who said he thought the same thing and darn if the birds weren't eating tiny green berries! And a caterpillar was going to town on the leaves! What the heck!

So we caged and covered and sprayed. And they continued to grow. We planted thornless blackberries and found a Dorman red raspberry as well and stuck them in the ground. Raspberries in Louisiana? Well, yes these were promoted as able to grow here so why not?

Here's why you would:

Fresh picked this morning for breakfast with yoghurt. Why WOULDN'T we want to try and try and try alittle more?

Back to the idea of "it's a lot of work!" Yes, gardening is work but it's work with rewards. Rather immediate rewards as well. You do weeding and you see immediate results. Plant a squash plant and you have veg in 3 months. You plant potatoes and in 4 months you have secret location filled with spuds. Plant asparagus this year and next year you can eat a few. The year after that, they return and you eat lots. You spray peach trees a few times a year and if the birds don't get 'em first, you'll have fresh peaches in 2 years after planting.

I'd rather be doing this than buying them all every week at the grocery. Talk about work!

Do I have to say the 5 gift blue berries are the only ones out there? So far, that is.......

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