Posts Tagged ‘blueberries’

Now is the time that we begin to be very busy. We are no longer getting the garden ready; we are dealing with all the produce we have been blessed to get from it.

In addition to cabbage, kale, collards, scallions, garlic, strawberries, and I don’t know what else, we are harvesting copious amounts of blueberries. Most of our blueberry bushes are ripening now, and our dining room table has several pans and bowls full of blueberries. We’ve already eaten one pie and handfuls of berries. I eat a lot of yogurt with blueberries and granola. Tomorrow, more pies will be made, some pie filling for the wintertime, and blueberry topping for our ice cream. Undoubtedly blueberry muffins and blueberry pancakes will be enjoyed by us all before the week is out. Here are just two of the many containers:



We’re also starting to get our Sunchocola and Juliet tomatoes which we are enjoying in our salads (yes, we are still harvesting lettuce). In addition, we harvested a certain kind of hot pepper to test them out. They’re called Chinese five-color peppers, and as the name implies, the peppers go through five colors before they’re fully ripe. They start as a really nice purple, move on to beige, then yellow, orange, and finally, red. My dad ate a beige pepper with all the seeds, and he said they’re really hot. I wonder what they will be like when they’re red!

These peppers will be used mostly to make salsa (both fresh and preserved), hot pepper vinegar, and hot sauce. They are a really nice looking plant with abundant tiny fruit, no more than 1 inch long.



Our zucchini plants are still doing well, which is good because everyone loves zucchini. We have been able to eat our fill as well as share with other family members and some friends. Our Swiss chard finally was partially harvested today for the first time. We only picked leaves off of three plants, but it produced a small mountain in our colander. We also read that you can do some things with Swiss chard stalks, so we kept those, hoping that we can find a way to prepare them in a manner that we like.

Our grocery bill has dropped to practically nothing. Mostly we buy milk and cream, sometimes bread. Having a large garden is a ton of work, but when the food starts coming in, it feels good to be able to go out and pick your meals, selecting just the ingredients you want for them. And when we get tired of vegetables, we make big burgers with lots of French fries 🙂

If you have a garden, feel free to share what is coming in for you!

DSCF2027In the back of our garden, where the chickens always happen to flock, we have around 13-14 mature blueberry bushes. We’ve had them for a long time, and this year we are harvesting a lot more berries than usual.

We have made the rounds in our neighborhood, giving them to friends. We have eaten them by the handfuls. We have made chilled blueberry pie, cooked blueberry pie, and blueberry pancakes. We have frozen over 5 gallons of berries and about 3 gallons of blueberry blip (what we call pie filling). And we are still harvesting them every day.

Today, our mom made some blueberry muffins, which we’re giving the recipe for, and then she’s going to make yet more pie and put away yet more blip. She’ll also make enough blueberry muffins to freeze and have in the months to come. It has been pretty darn nice to have this many berries.

Blueberries are a very easy bush to grow and well worth it. Once they get mature enough, you can really put away enough to last the entire year until they come in again. Birds such as bluejays and catbirds come by and peck some and I’ve seen squirrels in them too, but they don’t really take away much. We have a domestic deer who hangs around our yard and it goes for our corn and doesn’t touch the berries.

While we have gotten a couple of bushes locally, our mom gets her best bushes from a company called Stark Brothers, which mails the bushes to you. There are three bushes that we really like from them: Patriot, Bluejay, and Bluecrop. The Patriot bush grows really big berries about the size of grapes that are good for eating. Bluecrop grows very pretty berries with lighter, tender skins. These berries taste very good and are good to add to dishes where looks count. Bluejay berries are good for making pies and also just eating. We have berries that ripen early, mid, and late so that our blueberry season lasts a good portion of the summer.

As for the care of blueberries, you should prune at least the dead branches off and also take off any straggling, unruly branches. If berries start to grow and then suddenly wither and die when they are just beginning to ripen, that is a fungus which one of our bushes has gotten in the past. All you have to do is mulch the bush in the late fall. That will cover the spores and it won’t happen to the bush the following year.

Here’s our blueberry muffin recipe:


1 stick butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup milk
5 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour, not sifted
1 pint fresh berries


Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl. Mix eggs, milk, and vanilla in a separate bowl. Add liquids alternately with dry ingredients to large bowl. Fold in blueberries and fill muffin tins lined with paper baking cups. Sprinkle a little sugar on top. Bake at 425  degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Yields: 18 large muffins.

Hope this was informative and encouraging for anyone who thinks they’d like to grow their own blueberries!

In an article we wrote a few days ago, we described some funny things our chickens do. We, however, didn’t say that they jump straight up to eat the blueberries. We have also noticed how they curl their feet up when they walk. When they pull one foot up, they curl it up before putting it back down and lifting the other foot. Therefore, it’s pretty fun to watch them walking, and we also like watching them try to get birdseed from our bird feeders.

When we let the chickens out yesterday, we followed them until they reached the blueberries, at which point we started filming them jumping. When they got to the bird feeders, we filmed their sad attempts to get the food. Lastly, we got videos of their feet as they walked. Hope you enjoy the video!

Today, Dink and I went outside and picked blueberries. We only picked for about an hour, but we picked a lot easily because there were so many of them. They were all juicy and ripe, thanks to all the rain and hot weather we’ve been having. They were also very big. We took a picture of one of the biggest ones next to a nickel for size.

We gave some blueberries to our neighbors and they gave us some eggs in return which was very nice of them. Actually, they give us eggs frequently because they have too many chickens and we were trying to give them the blueberries for nothing in return. Well, they insisted and they actually seemed very happy to get rid of the eggs. We do go through a lot of eggs and we will be giving them a lot more berries and vegetables, so it’s fine. Actually, it’s kind of cool, because we don’t have chickens yet, and they don’t have blueberry bushes or a vegetable garden. Trading with your neighbors is a great way to stay in touch and close and also to get things you aren’t raising or growing yourself.

by John

Today we decided to take some pictures to show you how our fruit and vegetables are coming along. The peaches, Asian pears, and apples are still pretty small. We really need to thin them in the next week or two. You have to remove 75% of the fruit if you want to get a decent harvest.

We are starting to harvest our early blueberries now, about 2 weeks earlier than usual, probably because it got hot so early this year. Some are as big as a nickel and those are the best for eating. Others are about the size of a dress shirt button and those are good for our mom to make muffins and pies with.

As we said before, we were really very late getting our vegetable garden in, but we planted right before a very rainy week and everything came up great except the cucumbers, which we’ll have to put in a few more seeds to get enough for the summer.

Our favorites in the yard are the blueberries and the corn. Sometimes we just eat corn for supper, and I mean a ton of it (not literally, of course). After we finish, sometimes our trashcan is steaming from all the hot cobs people throw in. That looks rather funny.

We didn’t plant any snaps this year because the rabbits usually eat them all and whatever they don’t eat, the grasshoppers ruin. This year we planted butter beans instead of snaps. Usually nothing bothers those and they are really good. Anyway, there’s not much to say here, but the pictures should be interesting.