On Thursday, I dug up the area in front of the blackberries and removed the pesky Bermuda grass that was infiltrating there (in spite of a double layer of cardboard covered with mulch), in preparation for putting a new 4′ × 10′ raised vegetable bed in that spot.
On Friday morning, DH and I went to Lowes and bought a miter saw, a miter saw stand, and a 60T blade for my raised vegetable bed project.
On Friday afternoon, I started removing a mix of Bermuda grass (arg!) and Saint Augustine grass (so much easier!) along the fence in front of the main vegetable garden, and DH changed the positions of the eye hooks securing the wire for the blackberry trellis (moved them further inward and below the cross bars instead atop them).
This morning, I tied each blackberry cane to the trellis, using this truly awesome velcro product from Gardener’s Supply. I thought that this was going to be a relatively quick and easy task, but since it was my first time doing this and it was way overdue it ended up taking well over 2 hours. In the sun, in 100’F heat. Blegh! Some of the canes had rooted where the tips touched the ground. Many were so long and horizontal that it was a challenge to untangle them from other canes and position them upright without snapping the stems (but I only snapped a couple). After tying the canes to the trellis, I snipped off the tips of the longer canes to encourage branching, pruned off the lower leaves to reduce the chance of fungal infections, and pruned off the floricanes (the 2-year-old canes that fruited this year) since they’ll never fruit again.
This afternoon, I fertilized the blackberries: pushed aside the mulch, scattered generous handfuls of Black Hen (2-3-2) fertilizer, spread 1 bag of county compost, re-covered the blackberry bed with the mulch, and thoroughly watered it all in. I also fertilized the Rugosa roses with Black Hen (finishing off the bag), and fertilized the blueberries with ammonium sulfate (which simultaneously provides nitrogen and reduces the pH of the soil). Finally, I pruned the Pyracantha, used our plug-in hedge trimmer to prune the boxwoods, and did some light weeding.
This evening, after a break, DH and I assembled the miter saw and attached it to the miter saw stand. We were both pretty tired by the time we finished with that, so decided to wait until tomorrow to switch to the 60T blade and start cutting the wood for my raised garden beds. We also watched some “How To” miter saw videos on YouTube tonight, which was helpful, such as this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=015ET8ioHjg
Goals for tomorrow: Cut the wood for the the 3 smallest beds (two 4′ × 4′ beds, one 4′ × 10′ bed) and build them.
Photo #1: Blackberries after trellising, pruning, fertilizing,and watering (and removal of Bermuda grass roots/runners from the foreground)
Photo #2: The blackberry patch, a few days ago (before trellising and pruning and digging)
Pyracantha (front) Pruning
Dead-headed seed-transitioning flower heads
Rugosa Rose 'Alba' Fertilising
Rugosa rose 'Fru Dagmar Hastrup' Fertilising
Blackberry 'Natchez' Fertilising
Black Hen & County compost
Blackberry 'Natchez' Pruning
Attached canes to trellis
Blackberry 'Ouachita' Fertilising
Black Hen & County compost
Blackberry 'Ouachita' Pruning
Rabbiteye blueberries (5 varieties) Fertilising
1 handful of ammonium sulfate for each plant, plus more between plants