Berry Farm in Progress
Starting a Berry Farm
In 2011 we bought the farm, literally that is, with fields full of soybean. Following the fall harvest we began work on the berry rows. With the initial soil test from K-State extension service, it appeared we had great dirt but needed to increase the organic matter and lower the pH. A bit of a crazy reversal for the soil as the previous owners had added lime to increase the pH so we were simply helping to restore the natural order.
We incorporated horse manure, over 10,000 pounds of coffee grounds, coffee chaff, Canadian peat moss and pelletized sulfur into the soil.
Installing the drip system
In 2012 our initial test rows of blueberries, raspberries and blackberries seemed to be doing well. Unfortunately, that was a dry year and we spent a lot of time watering with long lengths of garden hose to keep them moist. So in 2013 we planned for installing a irrigation system. We had prepared 27 rows for planting with over 1000 plants, garden hose watering just wasn't in the future!
Using 1.5 inch pvc pipe, John Deere pressure regulated drip pipe and what was the most confounding connectors (until I read the instructions), we had a drip system ready.
When planting we mix up "Brownie Batter" for each plant. Takes time rehydrating peat moss, mixing in sulfur and small amount of fertilizer but gets the berries off to a good start.
Weeding is also one of those evils that consumes time. We don't use any herbicides, just weed pulling and torching them.
Mulching is also key to thwarting weeds and keep roots moist. The first year we mulched by hand but we now have graduated to a Mill Creek mulcher. Best money spent!!