Friday, May 30, 2014

Blackberries and Onions are Ready for Harvest

It is that time of year (last week of May) to harvest both Onions and Blackberries.  This garden journal post is a record, from start to finish, of planting and harvesting them.

We planted the Onions in late winter (mid-February).  They can withstand freezing temperatures.  We planted 4 "bunches", about 4 inches apart - I stagger the holes.  We purchased red and yellow varieties.  I use an old large magic marker to make the holes in the dirt before putting each onion in and filling up the hole.

This is the garden in early March after a rain.  We had two weird weather events prior to this - the strangest was the temperature dropping over 60 degrees in one 24 hour period to below 20 degrees.  All the vegetables in the garden were "burned".  It was the first time we ever lost broccoli and cauliflower.  The Onions made it but they were definitely impacted (foreground).

These are the Onions in April.  They overcame the impact from the super cold temperatures and are growing well now.

The Onions are beginning to fall over (3rd week of May).  When most of them have fallen, that is the time we pick them and lay them out to dry.

Harvest Day - May 30th.

After picking the onions, we lay them outside on tables and chairs (on the back porch, out of the rain) to dry out for a week or more.   When the greens dry up, we cut them and the bottom roots off the onions and single layer the onions in newspaper to keep in a laundry basket in the pantry.  Onions will typically keep through winter.

We cut down half of our Blackberry bushes this year and replanted the front half of our Blackberry patch.  The front half was originally planted with the thornless variety.  We were not happy with them.  The berries were smaller and there was less yield.  We replaced them with thorned varieties.  The bad part is we will only get berries from the existing bushes in the back this year.  It cut our yield in half.  Our Blackberry patch size is about 80 feet long, enough room for 10 bushes.  This picture is from February 2014 before everything greened up.

The bushes in the back are loaded with blooms in April. It will be a good berry season.  It is too bad that we only have 4 existing bushes.

 We weeded and mulched the Blackberry patch.
 Lots of berries - on 4 bushes.

First days harvest on May 23, 2014.  Enough for 2 pies.  There are still plenty of berries out there - Hopefully I can freeze enough for several pies and cobblers.  A pie/cobbler recipe takes 4 cups of Blackberries. 

I will freeze some of these berries.  I just wash them in cold water and place 4 cups in quart size plastic bags, then vacuum all the excess air out.  Make sure to date the bag before you place in them freezer.

Blackberry Pie Recipe:
Preheat Oven:  375 degrees
4 cups blackberries
1/3 cup of flour
1 cup of sugar
1 tbs of cinnamon
1 tbs of butter.
Mix ingredients and place in 9" double pie crust. I cover the edge with foil to prevent burning.
Bake for 45 minutes.
You can also make the pie and instead of baking immediately, freeze it.  When you are ready for a fresh pie, bake it then!

The pie smells wonderful! 

March 30th Status Update:  I pick berries every day.  So far I have picked 6 quarts (enough for 6 pies/cobblers) and there are still plenty out there.

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