Transplanting Brambles

Though the picture isn’t much to look at, that is one of the 7 blackberry canes I transplanted earlier this week. They are part of my Phase I permaculture implementation.  Besides providing habitat and food, it will eventually form a hedge along the eastern edge of the property to help keep the fisherman out of our yard as they walk to the stream.  Should another serious flood occur, they will bear the brunt of the damage and debris coming into the yard.

It has been a nearly a year to get them to this point.  Using directions I looked up on the web last year, I dug out all the first year sucker canes in early April, just as they were coming into leaf.  This was a few weeks late, as Mid-March is about right.

When getting them out of the ground care was taken to preserve as much of the root stem as possible.  I potted each one in it’s own 1 gallon pot with my preferred potting medium: straight Organic Endeavors compost.  Placed in the side yard they received limited full sun and set leaves well through the summer.  No special care was given to get them through the winter and they remained there.  The heavy snowfall Pennsylvania received this year served as good insulation.

As I pulled the pots up for transfer, the roots had snaked out and into the ground around them.  A bit of work was required to loosen them and minimize damage but was promising for my transplant success.  Tossing them in the wheelbarrow and grabbing a digging spade, my little lovelies and I headed to the field.

The warmed, moist soil made digging easy on the warm spring afternoon.  Each hole was prepared and planted individually, with the compost and plant going in together and topped off with the extracted dirt.  These were allowed to settle into the picture you see above.  A few days later they will get a top dressing of a few more inches of compost and a layer of mulch.  What will be used for mulch is up in the air at the moment, but I am thinking leaf mold from beneath the maple or some shredded newsprint.

Potting brambles for transplant provided older canes with well established root systems.  The process was simple and didn’t take too much time.  Though still too early to tell if they will flourish, I have good expectations that they will.

The next stage in this experiment is to transplant freshly dug canes into the field.  I have a few dozen that need to come out of my wife’s flower bed.

The Best Fruit Salad Recipe – Herring Family Fruit Salad (Thanks Mom!)

My Mother’s family loves fruit salad. I remember the giant stoneware bowl with the blue stripe on the table at every Thanksgiving and my aunts cutting up fruit while the turkey baked.

I never could make it the way they did until I asked my Mom what goes into it. I had missed one crucial ingredient: Oregon brand Royal Anne Cherries. My Grandma used to put up her own cherries, but once she stopped doing them this was the replacement.  The only store that sells these in our area any more is Karns Foods.  Wegmans used to but dropped them.

So now I can share with you the famous (or not) Herring Family Fruit Salad Recipe:

  • 1 can Oregon Brand Royal Anne Cherries (Wegmans and Karns carry them)
  • 1 can pineapple tidbits in juice
  • 1 can peaches in juice
  • 1 can pears in juice
  • 1/2 jar maraschino cherries – halved
  • 1 can mandarin oranges in juice
  • 6 fresh oranges, peeled and sectioned
  • 1 lb red grapes, halved
  • Sliced banana dipped in lemon to prevent browning

Mix the cherries, pineapple, peaches and pears and their juice in a large bowl. Add the maraschino cherries and about ¼ cup of their juice. Add the mandarin oranges but only add the juice if needed to cover fruit. Add the oranges and grapes. If storing, do not add the bananas until right before serving. Chill well.

The size of the cans is not really important since it is up to you how much of each fruit you want. If pieces in the can are large, cut them down to bite size. Try to get fruit in juice (with the exception of the Royal Anne  and maraschino cherries) whenever possible to cut down on the sweetness.  Even using small cans this recipe makes a lot.

In our house we do not put the banana in since they turn mushy and shorten the life of the fruit salad.  If you won’t be eating it all within a couple days, add the banana just before serving.