Gosh – it is amazing how good you feel when you get a hard job done, and you have been putting it off for ages and finally you do a proper job and end up body sore, but when you look at all you have achieved you feel great. Well that’s how I feel.
My poor old raspberries have had a hard life. I started out by planting them in the orchard, which is deliberately at the far end of our property, so that we have an excuse to go there, otherwise we might as well just have a small plot if we aren’t going to utilise it all. After a couple of years I realised that having the raspberries so far away was a bad idea. They need a lot of attention, to keep the weeds away and daily during the harvest time. When they were in the orchard they weren’t being kept weed free, and even more of a crime, weren’t being harvested regularly.
So I made the decision to move them into the veggie patch so they were closer to the house so I could take better care of them. I managed to relocate them, but sadly their quality of life and level of care didn’t improve. I have two types – one that produces fruit once a year and one that does it twice and they need to be treated differently at the end of the season. I tried to keep them separate when I moved them, but I wasn’t really sure where one started and the other finished, so I decided to leave them and see if I could tell. The first season there wasn’t much fruit so I didn’t cut any canes down and left them to do their thing.
Last summer the boundary between the types became clear as one end of the rowhad two definite flushes and I put in a bamboo pole to mark the spot. The fruit wasn’t all that good as I had neglected them in more ways than one. With so many canes in there, weeded became a complete nightmare as they were all scratchy and prickly. So weeding the raspberries kept being put to the bottom of the list and eventually entered the ‘never’ zone. So they were a weedy, cane bound thicket that never received any extra nutrients or love as my guilt was so heavy. Until now!
Now I have a lovely weed free raspberry patch and after finding all the canes, I then did an overdue chore that initially seemed quite brutal. I cut out the canes. On the single fruiting ones I cut all the canes down and on the other ones I tried to remove all but the new ones from last season. This was quite tricky to tell as there were so many, but I guess next year it will be easier. Then I gave them a good soak with diluted chicken poo goo, by way of an apology and I promise this season they will receive the best of my love. I am even considering splashing out and buying in some kind of mulch.
I still have to build a structure to keep them all from leaning about the place, but I have decided next month shall be Assembly August as I have loads of things to build and August is kind of the calm before the storm as in the following month seed sowing shall begin in earnest.
Come again soon – I think I need to do some list jumping as I don’t think I could go from one hard weedy job to another. The strawberries will have to wait.
Sarah the Gardener : o )