My wife and I bought 28 acres several years ago and have been steadily developing it ever since (small cabin, barn, rabbits, chickens, etc). We have recently discovered a large amount of huckleberry plants, and honestly have no info on these berries. Do you have any advice, or can you recommend a book or resource so we can harvest and use these berries? Please note, we have at least 1/4 of this land covered in raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and grapes, none of which we planted. We have been harvesting the other berries for jam,etc, the huckleberries are a recent find.
Lucky you! We value our wild fruit nearly as much as that which we have planted in our berry patch and orchard. In fact, we are also making “wild” plantings of domestic and wild fruits such as wild plums and Hansen bush cherries to further extend our wild fruit “orchard.” We, too, have wild raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries which we pick (provided that a late freeze doesn’t cause the blooms or early fruits to drop off!).
Wild huckleberries grow in colonies like blueberries but are taller, which makes picking much easier on the back. The blue-black berries resemble blueberries very much. You can either harvest huckleberries, when ripe (blue-black) by hand picking or by using a hand-held Swedish-style comb harvester. Huckleberries make excellent jam, pies, and other baked goods. You can also can the berries for future use or else dehydrate them. Use information under “blueberries” — the process is exactly the same.
Taste a berry or two before picking whole-hog. When they’re not ripe, they are kind of sour or flavorless. And, you want to make sure the berries are indeed huckleberries. There really aren’t many berries that look like them, other than blueberries, so they are pretty safe to harvest. (Look for the blossom scar on the bottom which resembles a small crown.) Now you’ve found your patch, you can keep watch over it in the years to come, waiting for the berries to ripen. How exciting! — Jackie
The recent rains have exposed the top half of my onions–both the early ones which are quite well-established and the new sets I planted last week. Should I add more soil to cover them?
Usually, onions do okay with the tops exposed. However it may be a good idea to cover them a little until they get more established to keep winds from tipping them over as they won’t have a good root system yet. Only an inch is plenty; onions don’t like to be deeply buried. — Jackie