Raspberries were the first plant we planted in our vegetable patch. I was eager to get anything growing and planted 30 raspberries type Asker and Veten, both types developed in Norway. The following year I added more Veten, to get three full rows. At the time of planting, I had no idea how large the plants would grow, nor how much berries they would produce. Consequently, it turned out the rows could have been wider spaced.
Planting different berries
Furthermore, I planted 60 strawberry plants (Senga Sengana and Polka) the following spring. I bought the plants from Vegge gård in Horten, my favourite plant nursery. To fill out the strawberry field I bought a few more plants.
After we bought the farm, we’ve planted 11 blueberry shrubs, 8 blackcurrant shrubs, and 3 gooseberry shrubs (1 green and 2 blue). Some of the plants has come with us from our property in Norway, but others have been bought later. Last summer we planted a 4 Aronia shrubs and 4 Lonicera caerulea kamtschatica, or honey berry as we call them, and this year we’ve added 46 new honey berry shrubs.
I also planted two blackberry shrubs in 2018. Only one of them survived the first winter, but that shrub has produced a lot of offshoots, so we have quite a few plants by now. This year I planted 4 blackberry shrubs that I bought from a plant nursery in Poland. The shrubs are thorn free and seem to ripen later that the ordinary blackberries.
Creating a pick-your-own berry farm
The reason for the large number of shrubs and plants is that we plan to have a pick-your-own-berry service up and running when we retire. For that reason, we hope to be able to plant a lot of blueberries next year (2022).
Handling the produce
The raspberries have produced well ever since 2019, as have the strawberries. In fact, we’ve had a lot more berries than we need ourselves, so we asked friends and neighbors come by and pick what they want.
The first summer we simply ate as much as we could fresh. I also baked cakes and made desserts. The second summer (the first corona-summer), I preserved the berries as jam, jelly and juice, since we didn’t receive many visitors. Although I gave some of it away as presents, we haven’t managed to eat everything yet, so this year I just froze the berries to be used in smoothies cakes and desserts.
Although some of the blueberry shrubs are several years old by now, we haven’t eaten much of it ourselves. Since we commute to Norway, we have usually been away when they have ripened. We haven’t taken the time to cover them so most of the berries have been food for the birds. Next year, however, I plan to feed the birds something else, and keep the blueberries for myself.