Strawberries And Currant Bushes

Discussion in 'Crops & Gardens' started by Yvonne Smith, May 7, 2017.

  1. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    We have been getting a few strawberries from the berry patch, and today I bought one of those plastic nettings that go over top of the berries to keep the birds (and squirrels ?) out. Last year, something ate most of our berries before they got ripe.
    We would see the blossom and the green berries, and never any ripe ones. Hopefully, the netting wil stop the intruders, and not stop me from getting into the berries.

    I also ordered three currant bushes that came in a "trio collection" of one red one, one white one, and one black currant bush.
    When I was growing up, my folks had red currants in the yard and we would pick and eat them. They are tart, a little like a cranberry, and about the size of a pea, and in a cluster like grapes. I have never tried the black or white ones, and actually didn't know they came in any color except red; but I am looking forward to trying some of all the flavors.
    Usually, they are more of a northern berry; but when I read about growing them in the south, it said to put them in a shady area, and we have LOTS of shade; so that should be perfect.

    I also ordered a strawberry collection, which has some ever bearing and some June bearing. I am going to plant those in a strawberry tower made from one of the tall laundry baskets. I saw that someone did that and it looked like it would work for us. I can cover the basket easily to keep the birds out, and it will keep the berries off of the ground. And I can put it in the back yard where we get more sunlight and maybe they will grow better there.
    I will take a picture once I have it planted.

    Currants are supposed to have even more antioxidants than blueberries and be very healthy. I am planning on using some in my smoothies once we actually have some on the bushes.

    http://www.diethealthclub.com/askqu...ts-heath-benefits-are-the-seeds-in-red-c.html
     
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  2. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    I've never seen any "white" berry....take a pic when you get it.
     
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  3. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    Here is the picture of the collection that I ordered from Directgardening. I have never seen the white ones, or the blue ones for that matter; but the information (when I looked them up) says that they are a variant of the red ones, and can come in shades of pink to the almost white color shown here.
    All three varieties have their own flavor, and I think that they would be great to use in blender juices and smoothies.
    If you look up "white currant", there are some really pretty pictures of them, @Chrissy Cross .
    IMG_0463.JPG
     
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  4. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    Looked it up and I take back what I said...I've seen it in Hungary....it's called ribizli and it's a very popular drink.

    Have seen the white one there.
     
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  5. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    Forgot to add that it's sold as a syrup in stores and then you add water or seltzer from your own seltzer maker at home. When I was there every home had a seltzer water maker...seems it's more popular than plain water.

    Although this was almost 20 years ago, so don't know now.
     
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  6. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    We have a SodaStream, which is basically the same as what you are talking about with a seltzer-water maker, at least I think it would be the same idea. I have added juice to the carbonated water, and I can see that having a syrup to add would be even better and more flavorful.
    The SodaStream also sells a whole bunch of different flavors that can be added to the water once you have carbonated it in the machine; but I just make plain carbonated water with it.
    We have the one that looks like a penguin, and it is a great way to have ice cold carbonated water without the added syrups and artificial sweeteners that are in a regular soda.
    IMG_0465.JPG
     
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  7. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    I would love to be able to plant currants on my land because they grow easily, and are hardy. But alas, currants are against the law in Maine, as are gooseberries. The berries are sometimes available in the grocery store, but the plants are illegal.
     
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  8. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    Why? I could google it but I want you to tell me. :)
     
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  9. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    I noticed that when I was ordering, and there are only about 4 states that they could not be shipped to. However, they have developed some strains of currants that do not transmit the pine blister disease; so it is possible that one of those strains could be grown in Maine. There are some for sale on ebay, and they do not say that there are shipping restrictions; so it is possible that they are relaxing the regulations against currants.
    The ones I saw on directgardening all had restrictions, but since there are now resistant varieties, those might be okay.
    To address your question, @Chrissy Cross , there is a blister disease that is transmitted to pine trees, and apparently some of the varieties of currants are carriers for this. I read that it was illegal to grow them anywhere since about 1900; but my folks always had them in Idaho, so I don't think that they made a big deal out of eradicating all of the currants in the US.
    Now, they have changed the laws, and except for 4 states, currants can be shipped and grown anywhere.
     
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  10. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    Although there is no hard evidence of a relationship between the pine blister and currants or gooseberries, as far as the spread of the plant disease goes, the fact that both are susceptible has led to this belief. It's probably more of political matter than anything else, as the lumber industries lobby against it, while probably not keeping up with the current science. One state recently did away with their ban, then reinstated it a year or two later. I can't remember which one now, but I remember reading that. As for varieties, I am thinking that the agencies that would be enforcing the ban don't want to have to get into being able to determine whether something they come across is one variety or another, since it's easier for them to simply ban them outright.
     
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  11. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    @Ken Anderson
    You've aroused my ire: first, are currants and gooseberries not growing wild anywhere in ME? Second, why in the world would berries be declared illegal? Disease? Or diseased minds (of law-makers)?
     
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  12. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    I don't know about currants, but gooseberries are native to Maine but they eradicated them several years ago, and enforce its continued eradication by fining any landowner who is found to have them growing on their land. I suppose if you could persuade the courts that you didn't plant them, you'd get off but it is illegal to plant or to have them growing on your land. There is a belief that they play a part in the spread of white pine blight.
     
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  13. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    @Ken Anderson
    Sometime during the Great Depression, WPA Conservation Corps planted thousands of wild rose bushes in the National Forest of Missouri Ozarks. Thought was, their rough and burly presence would discourage excessive grazing of more delicate native flora. Today, the damned rosebushes have become so widespread as to be extreme nuisance. Walking through the woods is apt to produce torn clothing as well as exposed skin; thorns abound everywhere. The immense deer population, known for fast and sudden jerky haphazard movement, suffers from torn skin resulting from crashing through impassable rose entanglements.
    Frank
     
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  14. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    Wild roses are like that. We have some in our yard. For the first few years we were here, I mowed them over yet they kept coming back, so I decided to let them grow. They're not particularly pretty, their flowers are tiny and they last only about a week or two, but the plants proliferate. Oddly, I have planted a few varieties of roses, thinking that if I added some other roses to the same part of the yard, they'd blend in, but the ones I plant rarely make it through a winter or two.

    Back to currant bushes, I like currants, and I think the bears and birds would probably like them too. Having them growing on my land up north would fit well into my forest garden concept so, every now and then, I consider making a trip to Massachusetts, where they are legal, and picking some up. I think I could live out the rest of my years before anyone ever found them growing on my land, as long as I didn't plant them along the ATV trail, and if they did, I could act stupid, like I wouldn't know a currant bush from a chokecherry. I think New Hampshire is the state that legalized them, and then made them illegal again.
     
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  15. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    Is pleading plain old ignorance the same as ignorance of the law?? :)
     
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  16. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    It worked for Hillary.
     
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  17. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    @Ken Anderson "I think I could live out the rest of my years before anyone ever found them growing on my land, as long as I didn't plant them along the ATV trail, and if they did, I could act stupid, like I wouldn't know a currant bush from a chokecherry."

    Tempting, yes. But out of character for an honest man. Or is flagrant opposition to ridiculous incursion into our private lives by law-makers, not exactly in violation of the "honesty" concept? That gray area has caused major conflict, revolutions even.

    By now everyone must know I adhere to the concept of "Better Dead than Red".
    Frank
     
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  18. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    If honesty meant doing whatever we're told, then this would still be a British colony.
     
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  19. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    @Ken Anderson
    Precisely what I was thinking when I mentioned revolutions.....
     
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  20. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    I was surprised when I first read that growing currants and gooseberries was not legal anywhere after about the early 1900's. The old ranch house in northern Idaho where my mom and dad lived when I was born had a large patch of currants, probably wild ones, and there were gooseberries scattered here and there, too.
    As a girl growing up , we had a currant bush in the yard, and we lived in town. We proabably didn't have the only currant bushes around, so even if they were illegal back then, I do not think that very many people knew about that, and probably even fewer cared about it.
    I had no idea about any of this until I did a search to see if they would grow in Alabama, and found an article about them being illegal. Thankfully, most states now allow both currants and gooseberries again, and since they have also developed varieties that are resistant to the pine tree blister problems, at least those varieties should be okay to grow just about anywhere.
    There are no restrictions when you purchase them on ebay, so they seem to ship them anywhere, and it is just the licensed nurseries who have to say where they can't ship them.
    Since you are not intending to start a currant farm, @Ken Anderson , it seems to me that adding a few berries that the wildlife could survive on is a good idea.
     
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    Last edited: May 10, 2017
  21. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    @Yvonne Smith
    That was in Idaho? Many years ago, travelling outside of Virginia City, NV, my new wife suddenly asked me to stop the car. A steep hillside rose up from the shoulder, which she scampered up. She came down with hands-full of beautiful reddish-purple berries, rather elongated, unlike any I had seen before. They were absolutely delicious, growing wild in high desert! I think we later determined they were Thimbleberries, or possibly Loganberries.

    Having been a child in post-war Germany, with Polish parents not having citizenship there, food was scarce, and they all appreciated even the meagerest morsel to be found!
    Frank
     
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  22. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    That netting that I put over the strawberry bed has really helped a lot ! We are now finding some nice ripe strawberries out there, and I need to go out in the morning and pick the ripe ones. I have been so busy with other things that strawberry picking just never quite made it to the top of the list, and I have just been stealing a few ripe ones here and there and not picking all of them.
    Even the new runners that I planted this spring are starting to get berries on them, and I am expecting my new order of strawberries and the currant bushes to arrive any day now.
    The blueberry bushes are looking beautiful and gen; but only one bush has any berries on it at all, and even that one only has a few berries. I found one at Hope Depot that was short and scrawny and barely any leaves; but that little blueberry bush is totally covered in blueberries ! ! Naturally, I bought it. I am keeping it in the pot until the berries get ripe because I was worried that if i replanted it, I might lose the berries.
    I am hoping that it will continue to bear like this every year, as well as that it will grow into a nicer looking shrub. Maybe it will help pollinate the other blueberry bushes and they will all start having more berries ?
    I noticed that one of my cucumber plants has a blossom on it already, too, and thus far, the tomatoes are growing great; so hopefully this year will turn out to be a better gardening year.
     
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  23. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    Well, the netting works all right, but I am NOT a happy camper.
    This morning, I went outside and picked the strawberries that were ripe. However, I also found a poor dead robin who had tried to get the berries and became tangled (badly) in the netting.
    I want strawberries nice and fresh; but not if I am going to kill the birds to have them; so I took the netting off. As always, I talked with Bobby about this dilemma when I came back inside.
    Bobby thinks that he can build a frame and put some small mesh wire over the berries, which would keep the birds out of the plants; but not trap and kill them. He already had to rescue one robin earlier this week, but this last one we didn't see in time.
    I am hoping that once I put the strawberries in the strawberry tower, then I can keep the birds out better, and we might even put it on the porch where they are not so apt to be looking for food.
    We both enjoy watching the birds out fluttering around in the birdbath, and make sure that there is fresh water for them to drink; so we sure do not want to harm our little feathered friends.
     
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  24. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    I don't like to see dead birds either....that's why I make sure I don't clean my windows. :)


    I suspect Pickles has killed a bird or two in my yard, so before I let him out...I have to make noise so they fly away.

    A cat could also be the culprit...do have one that I see occasionally in my yard.
     
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  25. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    Today, i was outside watering the plants and noticed that we actually have some tiny little green grapes on the vines this year. They are only about the size of a pea right now, and there is not an abundance of them; but this is the first year that we will have had any grapes at all. It takes several years for grapes to produce, and these are from one of the vines I planted several years ago. I don't even remember whether it is purple grapes or one of the red or green varieties; but I guess we will find out this fall.
    We also have wild grape vines that grow prolifically every year; but they never seem to have any grapes at all. I do not know why that is. I have been using a few of the wild grape leaves in my green smoothies though, so they are at least good for that, and I keep hoping that we will sometime get some of the wild grapes from the vines.
    We have flowers on the cucumber vines, and the tomatoes seem to be growing better this year; so I am hoping that we can actually have some production from both the cukes, the squash and the tomatoes.
    I am still waiting for the new strawberries and the currant bushes to arrive; but hopefully, they will get her soon. I need to have them planted before I go to Idaho with Robin the end of the month.
     
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