Liv Fruitful with Livi Lou! She is currently breeding strawberries, developing a garden product, trialing plants and researching the history of heirloom fruit varieties. She writes about unique perennials and fruit plants, so that you can grow an ornamental fruit garden. www.livilougarden.com facebook.com/livilougarden
 

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New Berry Varieties  

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Honey Bees: The Queen Signal  

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Crimson Night Raspberry  

 

 

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Brazelberries Jelly Bean Part 2: Summer 2015
by Livi Lou - posted 02/26/16

As I explained in my previous post, I was eager and excited for Brazelberries Jelly Bean’s Summer 2015 harvest.   The blueberry bush grew in height and developed many buds.  However, I did not receive a harvest.

There could be two main reasons why the buds did not turn into berries.

1.       They flowered too early for pollinating insects or just poor pollination in general.

2.       There was an insect that preyed on the buds.

I believe that an insect is the most likely cause.  About four berries formed, but withered and fell off.  Some of the buds became brown.  There was one small black bug on the plant, along with a leaf in which the underside held small eggs.

I removed the egg-infested leaf and destroyed the bug, but I think the damage was already done.  I still have not positively identified this bug.

While I do not think I had all the signs of blueberry bud mites, I think some kind of insect that feeds on buds is the cause.

Unfortunately, I did not take a picture of the bug at the time.

 

Another peculiar event occurred to Jelly Bean.  Below is a photo of Jelly Bean in Early September 2015. Despite its lack of harvest, it was still heathy and thriving.

 

 

Here is a photo of it about a week later.

 

 

 I had been out of town for a week. The brown leaves could be due to drought, but my other pots survived fine in my absence.  Jelly Bean did not revive after watering and I began to wonder if it was a disease.

The only photo I could find with similar looking leaves was from Michigan State University about a new blueberry disease called bronze leaf curl.

 

        

 

If you have a mysterious blueberry disease, you may want to learn more about bronze leaf curl. Here is a link to the university’s website: http://msue.anr.msu.edu/uploads/files/7_6_11_MBN.pdf

I am still unsure if it was bronze leaf curl.  Currently, Jelly Bean is fine and overwintering nicely in my garage.  We will find out how it produces this summer.

 

 

~ Thank for reading!

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Brazelberries Jelly Bean: a dwarf sweet blueberry
by Livi Lou - posted 02/19/16

In Summer 2014, I purchased Jelly Bean along with Raspberry Shortcake.  Jelly Bean is another Brazelberries plant and grows to be 1 to 2 ft in height.  It is named for its sweet flavored blueberries.

The below photo is upon first planting Jelly Bean.

 

Jelly Bean produced a few berries in 2014. I enjoyed experiencing how blueberries develop from a flower into a berry.

Below is my first blueberry flower on Jelly Bean.

 

  

 

After the flower is pollinated and the petals drop, the ‘base’ of the flower petals swells and starts to form a blueberry.  The below photo shows several stages of berry formation.

 

 

I did not receive many berries that first summer.  I originally decided to purchase the Jelly Bean variety instead of the other Brazelberries blueberry varieties because of its sweet flavor and extra cold hardiness to Zone 4.

However, after tasting these first blueberries in Summer 2014, I discovered that I don’t care much for ‘sweet.’ I prefer my blueberries to have a more robust flavor.  You always learn something new in the garden, even about yourself.

Jelly Bean grew healthily and I was eager to see how it would produce in Summer 2015.

My story with Jelly Bean does not end here.  I overwintered it in the garage during Winter 2014 and it grew in height and developed A LOT OF LEAF and FLOWER BUDS!

 

But why did the flower buds not turn into berries?  Find out next Friday in Jelly Bean Part 2: Summer 2015.

 

   ~ Thanks for Reading!

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Cornell’s Double Gold Raspberry: a sweet double-cropping delight
by Livi Lou - posted 02/12/16

In 2012, Cornell University released a set of two new raspberry varieties, named Double Gold and Crimson Night.*
 
I found the variety Double Gold at Oakland Nursery and planted it in my garden Summer of 2014.**
 
It produced a few berries in Fall 2014 and quickly filled its container with growth.
 
 
As I described in my post about Raspberry Shortcake, raspberries can be either primocane or floricane, producing berries on new canes or old canes respectively. 
 
Double Gold is a double cropping variety that produces on new and old canes.
 
This variety overwintered successfully outside through Winter 2014 without any protection for its canes.  It is hardy to Zone 4.
 
 
The below photo shows new growth in Spring 2015 coming from the old 2014 canes that survived the winter. You can distinguish canes that survived the winter by the fresh, orange color.  A dead cane will be completely brown.
 
 
 
In any given season, Double Gold produces berries on the lower half of old canes in early summer and on the tips of new canes in the fall.
 
In my 2015 garden, I harvested the summer crop starting June 20 and through to July 10.  There was a clear period where I would gather a handful each day.
 
The berries are described as being a ‘blushed champagne’ color.   The pink blush becomes more pronounced when the berry is exposed to sunlight, developing a rosy orange color.
 
The berries are uniquely sweet, reminding me of Smarties candy.  I hope you don’t find that comparison off-putting.  That’s just what comes to mind. I also think Medjool Dates are reminiscent of Tootsie Rolls.
 
 

The fall harvest was more sporadic and began in September and lasted to frost in October.
 
The fall crop was not particularly as significant or as delicious as the summer crop.  The berries became deeper in color, softer and tarter, especially in October. This would be due to the declining temperature.
 
 
Double Gold has strong and healthy growth.  The canes are sturdy, upright and reach 4 to 5ft in height.  I did not use trellising. The canes have thorns, but the berries are easily within reach so that you rarely risk getting pricked. 
 
 

Harvesting is easy. The berries are ripe when a gentle tug slips them from the calyx.
 
I did not use bird netting and had no problems with birds—not that I ever do.  My main garden pests are squirrels and chipmunks.  The squirrels attempted to steal my crop, but they did not like trying to perch on the thorny canes.  The only berries they could steal were low hanging ones that they could reach from the ground.
 
 
Double Gold’s impressive strength, deliciously unique berries and generally pest-free and easy harvest, make it a double-cropping delight for every garden.
 
If you’ve never grown berries before, I hope these Febru-BERRY posts inspire you to try it.  Berries are always better fresh and perfectly ripe. The diversity of tastes and colors that can be experienced only by a garden-grown berry is unrivaled.
 
 
 
   ~ Thanks for reading!
 
 
 

*I will be growing Crimson Night this Summer (2016).
 
**Oakland Nursery usually has a great selection of berry plants, but here are a few online nursery sources that carry this variety: Burpee Seeds  and Stark Bros Nursery.

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