Thursday, March 24, 2011

Another Fine Spring Day

Freshly sprouted blackberry leaf.
All of the pruning is done!
I just finished the black raspberries. They were a mess. Last fall I tipped a lot of the canes so they wouldn't bend down and take root at the ends. I was not diligent enough and found many rooted ends today.

But they are done.

Two days ago the I finished the elderberries, and did the red raspberries and blackberries, coming away with no loss of blood, in spite of wearing flimsy gloves and a light shirt. Blackberry thorns are vicious, not to be approached without caution. So I am lucky to have only a few pokes and scratches.

Chickweed between the stepping stones.
While doing the pruning and later some weeding (it starts early) I found some little bits of chickweed here and there. Considered a weed by others, I consider it a wild green. When it is larger, I will harvest it and put it raw into hot dishes to wilt slightly rather than cook.
Nettles grow everywhere.

Since the freezer is almost bereft of kale and other garden greens, I harvested a basketful of nettle tops to add to my lunch of kidney beans. Nettles (they do not sting after cooking) are highly nutritious as a cooked green or tea. About mid-summer, when the corn is knee-high and the nettles are 3 feet tall and aching to bloom, I will cut the nettles down and use them to mulch said corn and other vegetables.

Silly apricot tree.
While they are a nutritous food for me, nettles also provide many nutrients for plants and make a great addition to the compost heap, as well.

Before you go planting nettles, though, take heed. They are a member of the mint family and so spread as rapaciously as most mints. Nettles are not timid and a single cutting can quickly overtake a small area.

Cleavers also are sprouting, and can be used as a spring green when young.

Oh, and look here. The apricot tree is blooming. Just in time for this weekend's freezing lows. That's the reason apricot harvests are so unreliable in Kansas. Their blossoms frequently get frozen.


Unknown said...

What variety of blackberry are you growing..? Sounds like it must be a trailing type...your reference to rooted tips. (if you have too many of those, I will take them :)


Sandra M. Siebert said...

To adc: The blackberries are Prime Jim, a primocane producing upright variety. They do not tip root, but sucker freely. It is the black raspberries that tip root. The varieties I have are Bristol and Munger. See my first blog in August 2010 for a more complete account of my bramble story. If you are in Texas we'll have a hard time trading plants, as I am in Kansas.