May 22, 2014
The blackberries on our patio seem to be flourishing! If I sound surprised, it's because... I am. When we first moved into our house, those three bushes were scraggly and wild and had obviously not been tended to for a year or two. We couldn't even open the gate (on the left, in the top photo) without thorny branches swinging maddeningly close to our eyeballs. Some quick research revealed that each branch will only produce every other year, which led to some serious trepidation on our part around what to trim and what to save. But, we went with our gut, trimmed them back heavily this winter, and set up a simple trellis system to guide whatever grew back into a more orderly chaos. (Really, Micah did all of this. He had much more faith in these bushes than I did - but of course now that they're flourishing, I'm all, "MY BABIES!")
We told ourselves we'd be happy even if we just got a handful of berries (our actual goal was four. FOUR). And I'd say, as of this morning, there are easily 100 fuzzy, half-ripened berries out there. Crazy. But then! A few weeks ago, we realized there were suspiciously strawberry-esque plants coming up at the feet of each blackberry bush. Again, some quick research revealed that these MAY be strawberries, but they may also be a angrily-indigestible strawberry lookalikes - and we wouldn't know until they flowered. (Spoiler: they turned out to be fine - more than fine! - wonderfully edible). They, too, are flourishing now - I think today is the day I pick our first strawberry.
There's nothing like the first piece of home-grown produce of the year. I can never bring myself to do anything with it, other than lovingly rinse it off, and slowly enjoy it, often standing right next to the very plant it grew on. Forget "farm to table." It's all about farm to FACE right now. Starting with these berries.
DRAMATIC UPDATE: Right after publishing this post, I caught a squirrel eating those two red berries. MOTHER NATURE, man. She giveth, and she taketh away.