Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Raspberry Patch In Progress

I don't know what happened during the first part of the day yesterday (selective memory?), but I didn't get out to the raspberry patch to do the first-of-the-season clean-up until 2 p.m.

Armed with our large garden cart to hold the pruned canes which were then hauled away and stashed on the burn pile, a kneeling pad, sharp hand pruners and, best of all, a willing helper/husband (thank you, thank you, thank you!), I set out to conquer the canes.

We've got three rows of raspberries each about fourteen feet long. We originally had four rows but one of the rows was a fall bearing variety and because of our short season, each fall just about the time the berries were a-l-m-o-s-t ripe, we would get a hard freeze and lose about 90% of them. Nuts, I said, and ripped them out. So that left us with the three rows we now have which is more than ample (waaay more than ample . . . I plan on selling fresh raspberries this year) to produce enough for us to eat fresh, give away and preserve for winter.

In short order yesterday, the dead canes were cut and hauled out, the tops of this year's producing canes trimmed down and things were lookin' good.

Well, except for the weeds I need to yet take care of (read: dig out by their very roots) in and around the plants. It sure is proving to be a dandy year for "dandylions" in our area. Great early food for the bees but why do they have to grow so strong and robust right smack in the middle of strawberry plants and snuggled down hugging the base of raspberry canes?

I hope to get the patch weeded today, the perimeter and pathways tilled up and new mulch for the season applied. Off I go . . .


  1. I see stakes, are they tied up in any way also? Mine are all over the place! Neither of us eats alot but my mom sure does. Which is why I planted them.

  2. That's a lovely sight! I hope someday to have some kind of berries here...someday...

  3. APG - Back on May 5, 2009, I did a post on how we trellis or tie up our berries. If you care to check it out, go to: http://www.ahomegrownjournal.blogspot.com/2009/05/oh-rathp-berries.html. Hope that will explain it.

  4. Patty - Oh, I know you will! A berry patch or two is the BEST way to grow your own fruit. Strawberries and raspberries have especially been very prolific for us. And you've got all those eager little bodies to eat . . . I mean pick . . . them for you!

  5. OK Jackie Gleason, away you go-I wonder how many people on the internet actually remember him your doing good progress. I SHOULD GROW BERRIES THE WAY THE SMALLEST OF MY CREW EAT THEM. THE LITTLE ONE GETS WIC--veg. and fruit-do you know how much the raspberries I bought for her where? A small 1/2 pint it looked like, $4.00 ya -I know outrageous but than it should make you rich ,except you won't be shipping them anywhere like when we buy them out of season

  6. Thanks ma'am! Already saved that post so that I don't have to email you and say "Hey, howdoya???"

  7. judy - Yep, raspberries are very hard to ship because they are so fragile. Even when I sell them locally, they "settle" in the container as they sit on the shelf. Tricky little buggers, they are, but just about my favorite fruit!

    APG - I can't stand to work in raspberries that aren't tied up or trellised in some way. I tell ya, they'll grab ya and you'll never get outta there!

  8. Wow those do look like some massive dandelions. Maybe you should cultivate a crop of those and sell the roots and leaves. Make dandelion wine out of the flowers.
    I need to figure out what's wrong with our blueberry bushes. They have been slowly producing less and less each year and looking none too healthy. I've even resorted to buying fertilzer made for blueberries but it didn't help.
    Got any tips for blueberry bushes? I could sure use some.

  9. Sparkless - We do grow such healthy dandelions that I feel very guilty about not utilizing them as I'd like to. One of these days . . .

    My only suggestion for your blueberry bushes would be to purchase some peat moss and lay a heavy layer of it around the bushes. I used peat moss to mulch the WHOLE blueberry patch about three years ago and I don't know whether it was because our bushes finally reached proper bearing age or the peat moss application, but they really took off. They like an acidic soil and the peat moss seemed to be just the ticket. It did a great job of keeping the weeds down, too. Last year I didn't apply any more peat moss but did mulch heavily with wood shavings/sawdust saved from our wood cutting which provided more acidic content.

  10. Since we are having very confused weather at the moment - woke up to and inch of snow yesterday, my dandelions are not as prolific as last year ... I am waiting for them to super grow so I can try making some Dandelion Jelly.

    Somehow I found the recipe by searching here and there ... http://stliving.com/?p=2183 It might be an idea for all your gorgeous dandelions - EAT THEM!!!!

    There are many other recipes I'd like to try over at Small Town Living too. Check it out if you need new recipes.

  11. Thanks Mama Pea. I know about them loving an acidic soil and have used pine needles as was suggested to me but that didn't help either. I'll try the peat moss this year and see if they perk up a bit. They're already full of blooms but not many leaves. Poor things are just twigs with flowers on them.

  12. your canes are amazingly tall and straight! Mine were short and very bushlike - I will definitely do them again at the future home though, they are so rewarding! Raspberry Lemonade, yum!

  13. I grow the Elsa variety of berries - born free!!! hahaha It's nice to get out and work on things - even prickly things, isn't it? My currants are looking good this year, so I better put some rustle in my bustle and put netting over them. Are the blueberries next?

  14. Yvette - You had snow again yesterday?! Omigosh, and I thought our weather was staying unseasonable!

    Thanks for the recipe suggestions. Can you find me a few more hours in each day? ;o}

    Sparkless - We've gotta get those blueberry bushes of yours some get up and go! (Get up and grow?)

    Erin - Yep, our raspberry cans grow to over seven or eight feet each year and then we lop them off at about four feet when we prune the next spring. We actually get berries so high up I can't reach them and have to call Papa Pea out to the patch.

    Susan - There are lots of wild raspberries around here, too. Unfortunately, I'm just not a wild berry picker. I'd rather put in the work here at home and get a REALLY BIG harvest! (Does that make me lazy . . . or greedy??)

  15. Hmmm...maybe you'd do better selling raspberry jam? I know I'd buy some! Of course I am more than happy to stop by and help you pick them fresh too :)

    As for the dandelions, those ought to be be organic as well, why not make salad with them? Or wine, as Sparkless suggested?

  16. Jen - I just won't have the time to make extra jam to sell this year, I know. But you're right, that would bring in more $$ than the fresh berries. Unless the raspberry gods frown on us this year, there should be plenty for you and your two munchkins to pick fresh this summer when you're here!

    Go ahead, heap the guilt on me for not using all our prolific, luscious, FREE dandelions. I'm trying so hard to stick to just the basics this year that I'm walking around with tunnel vision blinders on and avoiding anything new. Can I do it? We'll see. :o}