Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Custom Built Trellis for the Blackberries

I really love going to the Farmer's Market.  It's a highlight of my week.  
There are enough around here that in the summer I sometimes go twice a week.
One of my favorite vacation destinations is a favorite in part because it has one of the best Farmer's Markets ever.  (SLO town, see here)
But you know what is even better than fruit and veggies from the Farmer's Market?
Fruit and veggies from your own yard.

The avocado tree in our backyard was one of the major selling points for us when we bought this house.
I am not exaggerating.  Way, way up there on the list.
And if you tasted one of our avocados, you'd know why.
They are like no avocado you can buy at the store.  
Not picked while still hard as a rock, rolled around in the back of a truck and then a box and shipped north from Mexico or Chili, right to your table.
Our avocados ripen on the tree until they fall, with a thud, to the ground.
We fight with the possums and raccoons to get them and when I see a half eaten avocado on the ground in the morning, it's the only time in my life that I really think about buying a gun.
Just kidding.
I have avocado on toast for breakfast every morning when it's avo season.

And our oranges.  
Let me just say that, picking an orange that is still chilled from the night air, peeling it open over the sink, and inhaling the sweet, clean fragrance that fills the kitchen is one of life's greatest pleasures.
Clearly, having access to homegrown fruit and vegetables can be addicting.

So it was high time we did something about the blackberries.
We have a sad, neglected blackberry vine struggling to grow in a shady corner of our yard, under the orange trees.
Last year it produced a handful of big, juicy blackberries, tempting our tummies and leaving us longing for more.  So this year we (aaron actually) took action.

In a former life, this long wall was covered with blackberry vines.

I don't know why they were taken down, but we decided to resurrect the vines and hang something along the wall for the vines to climb on.  They'd be exposed to lots of sun and warmth from the brick wall.
A while back, Aaron and his helpers covered the cinder block wall with stucco.  (see here)
Next, he painted it a clean, crisp, beautiful white.
Then it was ready for trellises.

Which, of course, he had to build himself.

After visiting the box stores, he came home with lumber and paint and set to work.
Ready made trellises were not attractive, expensive and just not exactly what he wanted, he explained. 
(of course the time he spent designing, painting and building was not factored into the $ equation, but it never really is when you are doing it yourself)

So he found some wood originally intended for fence pickets, painted it, cut it down with his table saw, nailed them together in the exact size and design he wanted and voila!

Girls, when you're looking for a man, finding one who can use tools should not be low on your list of important qualities.  I'm just sayin.
Besides, who doesn't love a man wearing safety eye glasses?  It's so hot!

This is the dark, damp corner where our vine originates.  
Aaron took town the remnants of the old, rotting trellis and put in a new one.
(can't WAIT to get our neighbor's garage wall painted white like the rest of the walls around our house)
It required a masonry drill bit to get into that cinder block.

And then, around the corner, along the sunny side of the wall, he hung another trellis.
It's the first of 5?  Maybe 6?  It's a long wall.
I like the way he used the small pieces of wood to set the trellis out from the wall.
That way the vine can grow all around the trellis.
Which it already is.

Within a week of having more sunlight, there were more blossoms, 

And even more berries!

But my favorite part of the new trellises is the view I have of them from my kitchen window.

I look out when I am standing there washing dishes, or preparing food and smile to see my husband's handy work and the vines that are already covering it.
It hasn't even been a month, and already there is so much new growth on the vines as they push forward, wanting to cover our walls and grow us lots and lots of blackberries.
This summer we might still only have enough berries for a cobbler or 2.
But by next year, well, I have big dreams.
Who's ready for jam?

Love from,

PS.  You can still vote for my other blog right here.  I so appreciate your support.  And I'm closing in on 100, so keep it up.  You can vote every day until June 8th.  Thank you so much.


Terrie said...

Yummy! I love blackberry cobbler. The next time I am in California, I am going to raid your avocado tree and orange trees and probably the blackberry bushes too. LOL

Hello, I'm Emily Clare. said...

thank you for this!! we have a blackberry bush and need to get a better trellis on the wall. this is fantastic!! (i'm jealous of your avocados!)

hannah singer said...

jealousy doesn't become me, so i will fight it off.
when we visited southern california this past winter, i was completely fascinated by the fruit and veggies deliciously lining yards, and freshly available everywhere! we have a short season for good stuff here, so you are living my dream!
love the nifty trellis-so cute and the berries look amazing!