Sunday, November 17, 2013

Time to Let Go

~ raspberries at end of October ~
It doesn't quite feel like winter, even with the few mild frosts we've had & the dramatic changes in the garden.

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 ~
With the rain & wind we've received the last couple of weeks (not our typical November weather mind you), has caused the very tall & very heavy canes to become a tangled mess, even with all my efforts to keep them 'in line'. HA!

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 find it really difficult not putting all those pruned canes into my rooting bed to start new plants - really difficult as they are wonderfully strong & healthy cuttings! Not this year...

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.

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