Kam Lake Community Orchard
Orchar July 12, 2020 just prior to a weeding party
Welcome to the community berry orchard. help yourself to some weeds and berries. This is a volunteer maintained project, so your contribution is valuable.
This 500 m2, drip-irrigated orchard was planted in spring 2014, and contains Saskatoon, raspberries and Haskap from the University of Saskatchewan fruit breeding program. Raspberries produced berries in 2014. A good crop of raspberries were harvested in 2015 as well as a few Saskatoon berries. The Saskatoon Berries suffered from the Caterpillar infestation in 2016, and did not do very well in 2017 or 2018. The Haskaps produced their first berries in 2016 and many berries since then.
The initial planting consisted of 32 Borealis Haskap, 4 Berry Smart Blue Haskap (as pollinators)
The orchard was planted by Ecology North, and was funded by the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAF) with support of the Territorial Farmers Association. It will be maintained by the YCGC.
Ecology North began a project in 2010 to investigate the potential of commercial berry production in the area of Yellowknife, Dettah, and N'dilo. The final Phase I report from the project is available here on the YCGC website. As part of that project, Ecology North planned a demonstration berry orchard to promote the production of local berries and gain knowledge about the yield and winter hardiness of berry species. YCGC partnered with Ecology North in this endeavor, and will ensure that the orchard benefits Yellowknife residents for many years to come. Berries in the orchard will be available for picking by any residents of Yellowknife or anyone visiting the City.
2022 The raspberries still seem to be suffering from too much water. The Haspcaps are doing great. The Saskatoons although growing are still quite small and only have a few berries each. The Currents are doing fine and producing berries.
2021 The slightly upgraded snow fencing seems to be working. No snowmobile tracks in the orchard this year. It was a drier spring and the berries generally did well.
2020 Update. Apparently the snow fencing wasn't the solution as the snowmobiler was back again this past winter driving around the snow fence to go through the garden.
2019 update. We replaced some of the raspberries with Black Current and raspberries from Prairie Tech Propagation. Unfortunately, we had a wet summer and the one end of the garden just keeps flooding so none of them did very well. Also someone who probably lives on the hill on Bromley Dr. felt it would be OK drive their snowmobile through the garden this setback some of the surviving raspberries, Haskaps and Saskatoons for the year. In the fall I tried adding some snow fencing around the garden to ensure it would be noticed with snow on the ground. The Sea Buckthorn didn't get enough water, it was planed outside the irrigated part, and they all died.
2018 update, due to the spring floods and watering problems, some of the raspberries drowned (who knew that could happen?) otherwise everything produced fairly well. The Saskatoon plants are still very small, but the haskap are thriving. To replace the dead raspberries we are planning to plant Ben Sarek Black Currant, Honeyqueen (Yellow) raspberry, and Indian Summer Sea Buckthorn in the spring of 2019.
2017 update, the Haspcaps are doing great, lots of berries this year. All the Saskatoons survived the tent caterpillars but they aren't thriving. Some did grow a bit but others are still very small. The raspberries are starting to show their invasive nature. A big thanks to Jim who provided and installed 1 ft wide strips of landscaping fabric to keep them contained.
2016 update, the Haskaps produced their first crop of berries. These are early berries ready July 1, with a relatively short season. The shrubs added quite a bit of volume this year, so next year's crop should be significant. The Saskatoons were severely defoliated by the tent caterpillars and did not produce well. The plants seem to have survived though. Many, many raspberries this year.
In 2015 weeding (with berries and ice cream) sessions were organised each month where most weeds near the plants were removed. Occasionally the weed wacker was used between the rows. Strips of landscaping fabric were laid out along the rows to contain the raspberries and discourage weeds. The weeding parties continued in 2016 but just one party was held in 2017. The irrigation is on for 1 hour every other day from June until mid-August.
Specific details on plants chosen for this orchard are given below:
Saskatoons: Northline and Berry Smart Blue cultivars, 3-year old plants
Haskap: borealis cultivar
June 8, 2015
August 14, 2015