Our Elder’s remember
various ways in which they tended “wild” berry bushes to increase productivity. Today, some of us call these tended areas, “berry gardens” to reflect the fact that this was another way that we took care to feed our people. In high-density patches of berries, we would burn some of the vegetation to encourage berries to grow, trim back some bushes, add fish as fertilizer, and also would clean out some of the brush around the berries – just as you would do in any berry patch today.
"They'd cut the salal berries... We had to stoop to pick our salal berries and they're just huge... huge, huge, huge... I don't think they've ever been cut or nobody's ever cleaned or looked after them the way the old people did. Because even their gray currants, after so many years, Old man would cut the whole thing right off and just burn the bush. And then next year, they'd be... well they'd grow and we still have a lot of gray currants.
There’s gooseberries. They were huge. Nice gooseberries. They fertilized them a lot. My grandfather did a lot of his own... he chopped the fish and buried it. And their clamshells, they chopped them up on the ground to keep the snails off. Because it's too hot, the white shells."
- Emma Reid