Tis the season of fruit

blueboy1977(TX9A/B)April 22, 2013

It's that time of the season here in Houston and all kinds of fruit is coming across the table. We have been picking blueberries now for at least 3 weeks and wild dewberries, strawberries and loquats have been coming on strong. After the first week of my blues coming in I started to have Mocking Birds tearing them up. They really piss me off cause they don't even eat the berries. They just knock holes in them, tear off green berries and make a big ole mess under the plants. I still have some Rabbiteyes pushing flowers and I like to wait to put up my bird netting untill they are done but the last 2 seasons I've had to put it up a tad bit early. They are mostly done flowering but still a few trying to push. Attached are a few pics from the last two days at our house. Hope you enjoy them, I know I did;)

Took the boys picking dewberries yesterday after work. Then made dewberry cobbler for desert!

My wife went to a friends house this morning and picked some loquats. I'm going to plant a few seeds in the front yard and get a couple plants going. Anything special I need to do for the seeds or just throw them in the ground?

My boys picked these this morning.

A few picks of the improvised frame and bird netting.



4 year old Emerald sagging from weight of blueberries.

My early varieties (Springhigh and Snowchaser) are just about done. Here are a few more varieties that are starting to ripen.

Jewel

This is suppost to be Windsor. It's from FHN and seems to the wrong variety. I have a Windsor JF&E and the leaf and berries look completely different plus they haven't started to ripen at all. Does this look like your unknown Fruitnut???

Misty

Sweetcrisp

Premadonna

Scintilla just starting to ripen

That's all I got for now. As more varieties come in to season I will make another post.

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Bradybb(wa8)

Thanks for the pics blueboy,it gives me a taste of what is to come.
It's good to see happy kids,the life that is in them.
That's quite a setup,like an orchard.
Get to try Sweetcrisp yet? Thanks,Brady

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 3:28PM
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fabaceae_native

Wow! Thanks for those mouthwatering pics!

It's amazing how early your harvests are, since most of us on this forum are still worrying about late spring frosts, or waiting for our plants to break dormancy and begin to flower.

I can't help but ask what you are harvesting in August, when the season of fruit hits more temperate climes?

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 3:32PM
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mrsg47(7)

Wow! What a great garden/orchard. And sweet boys! Great berries too. Just fabulous. My peach blossoms are just starting to open! Wow what great fruit! Mrs. G

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 3:35PM
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blueboy1977(TX9A/B)

Thanks all! In August all I'm picking is Okra and lots of it! By July I'm done picking fruit untill citrus starts to come in. My early citrus start in mid Oct.

Sweet crisp is excellent. The texture is what's really a stand out. Flavor is good also but to my suprise Springhigh and Primadonna have been my two favorite so far as far as flavor goes but neither can compare to Sweetcrisp for texture and sweetness. I tend to like my blueberries on the tart side but the kids and wife like sweet.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 3:57PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

blueboy:

I just tasted my first Sweetcrisp. The plants didn't set much this year because I didn't have bees and no wind in the greenhouse, if that would even help. But the fruit is sensational for my taste. These must be well over 20 brix and with a very strong tangy flavor. The texture is superb. I've never had a better blueberry!!!!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 7:33PM
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ericwi

The bird netting is impressive. I have not had to do this yet, we only lose about 5% of the crop to birds. It's the bunnies that chew on the blueberry stems over the winter that cause the most damage here.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 7:46PM
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blueboy1977(TX9A/B)

Thats good to hear Fruitnut! I cant seem to let my blues hang on the bush long enough to fully ripen. Once they turn solid blue they usually only hang on the bush 2 or 3 days. Im not the problem either! Those little fingers rob me blind when Im at work and Mom wont stop them. Maybe I can put up a shock wire on the entrance of my bird netting. That may keep the boys at bay untill its time to pick. Ive only got a hand full of sweetcrisp to this point and Ive only eaten a few and they were excellent. You could compair them to the texture of a grape. Still plenty of green ones on the plant so I still got plenty of chances. Are you letting them hang for 2 weeks still Fruitnut?

Eric, I cant stand to see one berry ruined from birds, really drives me nuts! The way I see it I spend entirely too much time tending to these things to let a Mocking Bird get even one fruit. I even thought about putting my outside cat in the bird netting with its food and litter box just in case one finds a hole to get through! A little extreme but effective;) I actually had 2 of them crawling around the top of the netting the day after I put it up looking for a way in. Mocking birds are the only animal I have problems with in my yard. They love blues and blackberries. I wish I had a bunny problem. They are delicious!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 10:32PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

These have only started turning for about a week. That's earlier than I usually pick. But they are so sweet they don't need to hang any longer. The early picking probably accounts for the high flavor. Acids fall as they mature more.

I'm with you on the birds. And agree that your netting is a thing of beauty. You've given me an idea about how to better cover my grapes for bird and hail control.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 10:49PM
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insteng

For the loquats just throw them in the ground they will grow like weeds down here.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 2:48PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

blueboy1977,

You are causing me to break the 10th commandment: “You shall not covet ...anything that belongs to your neighbor.”:)

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 3:09PM
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blueboy1977(TX9A/B)

Thanks Insteng for the reply! Will a seedling take a long time to fruit or not?

Milehigh, I know the feeling! 3 years ago I saw Fruitnuts post on 1 year old Blueberry Growth and I was envious to say the least! Made me want it even more so I will take that as a compliment of the highest order, Thank you;)

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 8:28PM
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insteng

Loquats will grow really fast but I'm not sure how long it will take to fruit. I plan to plant some at my ranch up in East Texas. I've been starting an orchard up there and trying to find out different types of fruit trees that will grow up there. I just planted my first blueberries this year up there and hopefully I will get a few before the birds get all of them.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 7:26PM
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prestons_garden(9B SZ 22 HZ 6 SoCal)

blueboy1977,

Thanks for posting your pics, especially your netting set up. I too have a big problem with mocking birds always getting the blueberries. I have looked into different ways of detouring them but nothing has worked except the bird netting.
I was contemplating just to cover the blueberries or everything. The latter will be my choice.

It's great to see your kids having a good time in the garden. They will remember those moments forever.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 12:28PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

Blueboy,

Those are a couple of great looking kids, must take after the wife? :) You did an EXCELLENT job with the netting.

Luckily here very few mockingbirds. While there are a lot of them in the state and even in our county there are very few in this neighborhood. I did see one this year in my BB patch he was going back and forth between the neighbors BB and mine but disappeared one day so will assume the neighbor shot it. Have had some issues with cat birds but not a lot.

You need to plant a couple figs to fill that gap in your season.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 1:26PM
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charleslou23

bboy looks like most or all your blueberries are in container?

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 3:21PM
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blueboy1977(TX9A/B)

The kids love it! I can't keep them out of there. Yes Bam, my wife is pretty hot;)

That's the only solution to birds that I've found. It's a pain to put up but well worth it. I did get a LSU purple fig planted in Feb. I cut it back and rooted 3 of the cuttings. Gave one to the Father in Law, one to my Dad and one more left for me so now I got 2 fig trees. I hope they are good. I've never had a fresh fig!

Charles, most of them are in containers. I have 6 in raised beds. 5 Rabbiteyes and 1 Emerald.

I've had the rest of my varieties start to ripen and have been able to taste all of them now. Took my wife out there today to taste test to see which ones we want to keep and which to let go. Unfortunately she likes all of them so now I have to make the tough decisions. Honestly the only SHB I don't like is Premadonna. Watery and tasteless! All the other ones are good in there own respect, some defiantly better than others. Yes Fruitnut, Sweetcrisp stole the show;)

I took some more pics of the later ripening varieties and will post them soon along with my personal take on all the varieties I've grown. Looks like I'm going to keep more than I though I would.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 10:18PM
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tucker46060

blueboy-

Sorry if this has been asked ... but what is the foil-like material wrapped around the pots?

Thanks

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 10:02AM
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blueboy1977(TX9A/B)

Tucker, it's tin foil. I wrap the pots about 3 or 4 times with it to give them insulation from the sun. It gets very hot here in the summer and they need all the help they can get to stay cool. A lot of the pots I have are black and really heat up in the sun. The white pots I have are very thin, almost transparent in direct sun and that's not good for the roots or water retention in the soil. Blues like a lot of water and the tin foil helps it from drying out to fast. Fruitnut gave me the idea a couple years ago. It works and its cheap!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 11:50PM
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sun-junkie(9)

And once again, I have yard envy! Great pics Blue. Where did you get the netting and supports? My replacement tent poles are too flexible in the wind.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 12:08PM
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blueboy1977(TX9A/B)

The supports are galvinized electrical conduit and 1/2 inch PVC. Connected the ends with 80lb monofilament then stretched the bird netting over it. Nothing to it really other than patience and elbo grease;)

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 12:43PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Best netting setup I've seen!! The PVC does look bigger than 1/2 inch. I was thinking 3/4 inch. Are you sure about the size?

And do you have a source for the netting? Thanks!!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 1:07PM
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blueboy1977(TX9A/B)

Absolutely, 1/2 PVC and 3/4 inch conduit. The netting I'm not sure about. I have the web address saved on my computer at work so I will get back with you on that. It's pretty cheap netting. It was around $150 or so for 500ft of netting. Dimensions are 18x500 and the netting has to be stretched to reach 18ft. It's made of tiny loops so a tear doesn't spread which is nice. I had some rats get into my bag of netting last fall and chewed holes all through it. Spent several hours patching holes with fishing line after getting the netting up. It does snag every limb and berry in reach while hanging it which is a pain in the butt but for the money and amount you get it's hard to complain.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 10:15PM
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blueboy1977(TX9A/B)

Here is the link to the site I orderd it from. Its from Nixalite and is the BHFP500 Flex Premium 17x500 netting. I dont remember it costing $199.00. I thought it was around $150. That was a year and half ago I ordered it so prices may have went up.

http://www.nixalite.com/BareHandsNet.aspx

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 11:53PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

blueboy:

Thanks for the link. I'm going to need some of that for my apples and pears. And may move my blueberries outdoors.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 12:06AM
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