Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Can you See the Difference?

~ raspberry patch #1 - before ~
 After harvesting my first raspberries of the season, I realized I had neglected to fully prune the bushes & now that summer has arrived, they are putting a lot of energy into new growth which has caused things to become very crowded.

Raspberry Patch #1 - this is my first patch of raspberries & it will need to be dug up & divided & thinned very heavily this fall. The first photo is before I got in there to weed & thin out the new canes. The new canes that are growing right now will give me berries this fall & then again next spring. I'm lucky to have 'ever bearing' canes - not everyone does, so make sure you know what you have before you start pruning too much!
~ raspberry patch #1 - after ~
I like to make sure there is air flow down by the roots - it also allows the ducks to get in under there & root out bugs & have a shady spot to hang out in when we are out there together. I cut out the very thin canes or the ones that are bent, mis-shapen or over-crowded. Sometimes it feels like I'm reducing the possibility for a larger harvest by removing so many new canes, but the ones you leave - which will be the strongest ones already - will produce far larger & healthier berries.
~ raspberry patch #2 ~

Patch #2 - came a few years after the first one - from divisions. This area is far drier & the soil is not as rich, so I'm constantly adding compost, manure, mulch & grass. It has turned around quite a bit since the addition of several buckets of pig manure last year, but that will only last a couple years before I'll need to add a more. This patch gets a lot more duck droppings, so I'm confident that it will start to improve shortly.
~ raspberry patch #2 ~

After I'm done with pruning out the thin or overcrowded canes, I cut them up & put them back around the patch for mulch. The ducks have already discovered the freshly weeded area & were busy underneath this morning while I was picking more berries.

Another great way to start the day - if you have time after doing all the other chores! It's also a great way to unwind from a busy day & have dessert before dinner...

~ loganberries !! ~
Many people are unfamiliar with loganberries. They are a cross between (to put it very simply) a blackberry & a raspberry. Check out the size of the fruit!! I've picked these ones early - they usually ripen to a very dark purple colour & have an intense floral fruity flavour that pairs well with lemons or blackberry & balsamic vinegar. While the vines are super-thorny & so are the leaves & pretty much everything about this plant is a pain - the rewards are amazing. You don't need a large patch of these to have more than enough for jams, wine & a few bags frozen for winter use!!

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