It is a particulary good crop this year.
There is something so opulent and decadent about bowls of raspberries for breakfast, a few more for afternoon tea and just one more handful on your way past to lock up the chooks at night.
There are some secrets to happy raspberries.
- They like to be kept moist.
- They don't mind a bit of shade.
- They don't like hot dry winds.
- They like a good dressing of rich compost, blood and bone and perhaps even mulch in late winter or early spring.
- They are precious and special - they don't like competition or weeds.
- They like to grow in a patch rather than strapped to trellis. This lets them get thick enough to shade out weeds and to keep the soil around the roots moist.
- And lock those bloody chickens out! They have shallow roots.
The trick I reckon is when you first plant them, gather the first years canes together and tie them in bunches. Raspberries fruit on last years canes.
The annual maintenance is this: Each winter, removed any canes that are tied up in bunches. (These are the ones that would have fruited that year) Once the old canes are gone, gather up that years new canes and tie into bunches. These are the canes that should fruit the following spring. With the old canes gone, and the new canes bunched, this is the time to spread a layer of compost, manure, mulch whatever. The topdressing will help protect the roots from frost and cold.
The good thing about this system is that in winter when everything looks dead and it is hard to tell what fruited and what is new growth to fruit next year, what ever is tied goes, and what ever is left gets tied up so that the canes are supported by each other and the fruiting happens in big bunches rather than spread across the whole patch.
This works for my spring fruiting raspberries. I am not sure if the same system would work for autumn ones.......
but my gollygosh they are yummi.