Take a look around the October archives from past years. I definitely love sharing cranberry harvest pictures and descriptions of what's being done. This year isn't any different.
Today's cranberry harvest lesson answers the question:
Do cranberries grow in water? I've answered this question before. That was years ago; it's time I answer it again.
Do cranberries grow in water?
Cranberries grow on vines rooted in sand covered beds or bogs. A cranberry bed is basically a 2-5 acre rectangle carved out of the earth surrounded by a ditch. During the growing season the soil is kept moist, but not saturated. Cranberries do require plenty of water, however, they like good drainage. Cranberry beds, when it's time to harvest, are flooded.
Flooding involves moving water from our reservoir, through the flooding ditch, to the cranberry bed. Cranberries float, which is the reason they are harvested in water - they're easier to pluck from the vine when floating.
Here, boards are being stacked in the bulkhead to dam up the water. The full ditch utilizes the power of water pressure; it helps the water stay on the beds being harvested.
Stacking up bulkhead boards again.
Once a shallow flood is achieved, it's time to pull the pipe. The pipes transport water for summer irrigation and spring and fall frost protection.
The pipe pulling crew. For as hard as they work, they still know how to have fun. Everyone jokes about how loud they are; their voices can be heard over all the tractor engines.
First the pipes are carried to the edge of the cranberry bed. Then they are lifted out and lined up along the edge of the bed where they'll lie waiting until spring.
The pipes also create a good line of hurdles.
Reaching across the deep ditch.....anything for a cookie.
Just a gorgeous sea of red, floating in water, waiting to be corralled.
What else do you want to know about harvesting cranberries?