It looks like the best time to prune back the blackberries after harvest... yay! I'd hate to lose out on the harvest this year, even if it's a pain and I can't reach much. Sure there are MUCH better options at Washington State University's (WSU) blackberry site as far as more prolific producers and less painful harvesters, but this brutal patch isn't taking up space in my yard. I don't have room currently to plant any blackberries in my yard and Mother Nature's supplied me with a good option to get some blackberries, and since my neighbor and I are the only ones capable of currently getting to them, it's us or the birds... I'll pick us over the birds any day. One way to apparently fix this is when the new canes grow up after laying waste to the area, cut them back to head height to encourage side growth (around the 4th of July). I should be able to do that. Sounds like I need to head next door to talk to my neighbor. He may not like the downtime from the pruning. He just told me he's STILL eating frozen blackberries from last year. He apparently packaged up 1 cup baggies and froze them and eats one a day for breakfast. Doesn't that sound good on cereal or oatmeal or whatever? Yum, good idea!
On a separate note, I was reading in the Seattle P-I today in the Edibles column by Chris Smith, a retired Master Gardener from WSU. Though his idea of raised bed gardening isn't anything like SFG, he did have some good ideas on what to plant now and when to plant it. For me, it means in addition to my broccoli, cauliflower and lettuce (all cool plants), I'll be planting peas and spinach this weekend or next, weather permitting. I'm so excited. My beds have been getting some rain, but not nearly what I'd expect. We've had a dry February, at least since I got dirt. So much that I had to wet it down myself.
Another thing Chris Smith suggested was to work in 5-10-10 fertilizer into the soil before planting, then side dress it when the plants start really growing. I don't know what fertilizer has that ratio, but it's not Miracle Gro, it's more like 30-10-10ish. I'll have to research it or just ask the nursery. Also, I don't know if I should do that for all the beds, or just the peas and spinach. So much to figure out.
The best news from the article was that although Enation (a virus spread by aphids that destroys plants) resistant peas include my Oregon Trail, Oregon Sugar Pod and Cascadia that were all recommended to me by the nice folks at Territorial.