|~ raspberries at end of October ~|
But today was the day to let go - of the raspberry patch & potential harvests like this one on the right. I have to admit that I won't be picking these anymore this season because the temperatures just aren't warm enough to ripen the remaining fruit... (sad sigh)
So I did a bit of 'spring clean-up' a few months early!
|~ raspberries pre-pruning ~|
My supports are not tall enough to prevent the canes from leaning way down to the ground with all the unripe fruit on them - you might see a few touches of red in there but they are not ripe enough to harvest.
|~ raspberries after pruning ~|
So I suited up & went out in the rain today to prune the tops off the canes to prevent possible damage over the winter from wind, rain & possibly snow cracking the canes, which would reduce next year's harvest.
I learned last winter, where I didn't prune the tops of the canes, that they will 'self-prune' - meaning they will only grow new leaves & fruiting buds up to a certain height on the cane. I could almost hear the relief sighing from the canes when I pruned off those very heavy tops (sometimes the pieces I were cutting were almost 4 feet long!). The canes immediately stood upright & are no longer under strain. Now they are set for the winter & will be in wonderful shape to set new fruiting buds for next year's crop. All I will have to do is thin out some of the scragglier canes, probably divide a couple of the clumps for transplanting & help the new shoots coming up.
|~ pruned raspberry tops left for the birds ~|
I instead laid them out with the remaining berries face up so that the Stellar Jays could come & enjoy them over the next few weeks. And sure enough - within 10 minutes the jay that has 'adopted' my gardens was over there checking things out! Noisy birds...
This area I have been building up all summer is going to be yet another raspberry patch. I would love to try the 'black cap' raspberries as they have a different flavour & hopefully I can find a couple plants at a Seedy Saturday event or a local nursery. The straw & yard waste & pig manure should be sufficiently composted by next spring to allow planting.
So, that is the end of my winter crop of raspberries for this year. I managed to pick quite a few, give a few away to neighbours & share a few with the birds.