My poor raspberries… Oh how I neglect you. Last year I moved my raspberries from the orchard, to the veggie patch as you really need to keep a constant watch over them, especially at harvest time, when you really need to pick every day. At the moment it takes all my greatest efforts to get to the orchard as there are two paddocks with the tallest grass, waiting to be made into hay. Normally we mow a path when the grass is still short, but this year it didn’t happen, so you have to bush crash your way to the orchard and it is really knackering!
So it is just as well the raspberries were moved as they have started to fruit. I was quite pleased to see them, although I don’t really need to worry too much about the birds, because the kids seem to beating them, and me, to the ripest (and not so ripe) red berries. I thought they looked OK – not quite shop bought quality, but they were homemade so were allowed to be a little manky. Then I went to a doo – one where you have to bring a plate, and this lovely lady brought the most amazing dish. A sweet pastry shell filled with a cream cheese and grated chocolate mix and topped with raspberries. So Good! But the raspberries were so amazing – plumper, bigger, fresher and sweeter and generally much nicer than anything I’d seen in a store. And she’d grown them – they were from her garden!
Then I realised my raspberries were not living to their full potential! Coming home from that doo, I looked at my raspberries and realised the problem – I was neglecting them dreadfully. This needed to stop. Immediately.
When I moved them I spent so much effort in making sure the soil conditions were perfect and they had everything they needed. But I failed to keep they weed free and I never watered or feed them. Opps! So now there is my evil nemesis growing amongst them, shading them out with their umbrella like leaves. Dock – oh how I hate it! The only bright side I can see is it seems to have prevented other weeds from even getting a look in. The thing is Dock has this really stubborn long tap root and at this stage to wrench them all up, will disturb the raspberries in the midst of their full and flourishing growth phase, and I don’t want that, so I went through with my snips and chopped them all off at the base. I have noticed areas where we have regularly mown what was once a Dock infested nightmare, has pretty much no Dock at all now, so I think regular cutting back with eventually get them… here’s hoping.
As I removed each cluster of stalks and leaves, you could almost feel the raspberries breathe a sigh of relief as the light flooded in and suddenly there was enough room around them for the air to flow. You could see right through the patch to the other side.
Then I gave them a huge drink of water and will give them a slap up dinner today and then make sure they get a regular meal and liquid refreshments so they can grow to be all they can be. I want raspberries that look and taste as good as my friend’s ones.
I have also finally figured out how to care for the raspberries once they have finished fruiting for me. You see I have two kinds – summer ones and autumn ones and when I moved them I tried to keep them separate, but didn’t really know where they started and ended and I didn’t want to treat the summer ones in the ways of the autumn ones and ruin everything – so I did nothing. It’s what I normally do when I don’t know what to do.
But now I know which is which – because some are fruiting and some aren’t so I put in a marker to show the frontier between summer and autumn and so when the time comes I shall clear fell my autumn ones and just chop the old canes out of the summer ones – easy.
So now I feel like I have mastered the raspberries – I am in control of them, they no longer run wild, but there have been some consequences – I ache all over, my poor body is stiff and when I walk, I kinda hobble and worst of all is I have what seems to be a thousand tiny prickles and scratches all over my hands and arms… It’s jolly lucky they taste so good. I don’t know if I’d go to the same effort for broccoli if it had prickles!
Come again soon – the garden is looking so fantastic, I’ll probably need to, ever so humbly, brag about it in the days ahead.
Sarah the Gardener : o )