Spring is late. Yes, here on the wet coast, I celebrate Spring's arrival on February 1st - ritually, by going out & finding that first crocus. This year I missed it - I was 'away'...
This year, I doubt there were any crocus in bloom on February 1st. But I found one on the 13th & it took me a bit to locate it too.
|~ raspberry patch pre-clean-up ~|
This particular patch is growing in rather poor soil - I know it's poor, but nothing else will grow here & the more I mulch & compost, the better the soil gets each year. I can tell because each year the harvest gets better!
|~ raspberries pruned & tidied ~|
You might think growing raspberries is rather onerous; requiring lots of attention & then dealing with thorns upon harvest time.
I keep it simple. Cut back all of last year's canes (they are grey & will snap off easily), cut out all the wimpy, leaning & small canes that will take away from the health & vigor of this year's harvest, remove the weeds from around the plants & throw on a good handful of fertilizer.
|~ raspberry patch done ~|
Then mulch it & walk away.
The patch will require another feeding later on in the season right around when it's setting fruit (June'ish). And it will require lots of mulch & maybe some compost too. I use grass clippings around all my berries & I use lots of it. Keeps the weeds down, keeps the soil moist & it breaks down by the end of the season, thus enriching the soil for next year.
I put evergreen boughs on because it's too early for grass mulch & I just wanted to protect the canes in case we get some late season freezing.
|~ 2nd raspberry patch ~|
They grew wild last fall. I managed to get some wire in to hoist the canes up, but they grew well over 8 feet tall & were tangled & leaning on each other & made for harvesting the fall crop of berries near impossible!
I was lazy with this patch last year.
|~ tidied & supported ~|
It's really hard to tell because of the light & the lack of leaves, but I actually removed well over half the canes! I want only the strongest & the straightest canes growing for this summer's crop.
I also redid the supports - will more than likely have to redo them again in the fall when I have the funds for better supports other than rebar & wire. But at least they are upright, weeded, fed & mulched.
I'm glad I decided to reintroduce yoga to my daily routine - it has helped me get through the dreary winter days of just sitting on the couch reading books & now into the ultra-intense actions of gardening - I feel no pain after my first 5 hour day in the gardens!
Today I will be having conversations with some more berry shrubs & digging into nooks & crannies.