My mom and I decided to can three things this summer: strawberries, blackberries, and peaches. We did strawberry jam a few weeks ago. This week was blackberries. 

My parents have five acres of land with a lot of uncleared blackberries; they’re a weed in the Pacific Northwest. No joke. So we picked them yesterday. 

 We got a bucket full with a few hours and picking. There’s still plenty of green berries, so we’ll probably be back for ice cream topping. 

It was neat for me to see the neighbor’s beehives.  

  There were a lot of happy humming bees, and we shared the blackberry bushes with the little pollinators. 

Today we canned them, which was neat because we did it at my house with my supplies for the first time. It’s amazing to have a kitchen big enough to can in!

  We got eleven pints. There was some question with each batch, since Mom forgot to wipe the rims on the first and we were wondering if water was getting into one in the second, but there were eleven beautiful pops as they all sealed. 

   My son is the cutest little helper ever. Mostly he begged for food and played outside. 

Then this afternoon, I decided my blueberry bushes needed some help. I planted my perennial garden in highly abused and neglected soil shortly after moving in. I fertilized and composted with fish meal and horse manure compost before planting, but it’s no surprise that it still isn’t ideal soil.

The blueberries had reddish leaves, which I recently red can be a since of a lack of phosphorus on many plants.  

I got some fish bone meal (as opposed to just fish meal), which is very high in phosphorus. I dug it in around the berries, added another layer of bark mulch, and then watered deeply at the base of the plants with the flood setting. None of the other plants showed this problem, so I didn’t add the fertilizer for them.

If the berries don’t improve in a few weeks, I’ll do a soil test for them to find out exactly what the problem is. I’ll also compost and mulch again when everything dies back in the fall, and fertilize, compost, and mulch in the spring before it all really wakes up. Hopefully within a few years the soil will be beautiful and I’ll get a tasty berry harvest!