‘AUTUMN RASPBERRY’ MANAGEMENT
If you’ve got raspberries that bear fruit from August to late autumn and beyond (Solstice, December 21st, last year) then now’s the time to get in amongst your rows and sort them out. Cut down and remove everything. That’s what I’ve been up to yesterday, today and dare I say it, again tomorrow.
Autumn fruiting raspberries, as opposed to those which are ripe for picking in June/July, deliver the goods on growth made in the same year. In other words, the canes that grow in spring and summer will flower and fruit later on that same season.
Management is basically very straight forward - simply cut everything down to a few inches from the ground late Jan/early Feb and feed your charges by way of a rich, organic mulch. If you’ve got some horse pooh handy, well-rotted and heaving with wriggling worms, then slap it on top of the raspberry bed. I have none of that at present, but did collect alot of leaves fifteen months ago and have laid this decomposed, crumbly medium down thickly instead.
I should have said that, before mulching, studiously remove every weed. Don’t employ a hand-fork or trowel because raspberry roots near the suface will be disturbed also. Use a dinner fork for delicate, targetted weeding or just a strong thumb and first-finger. In fact, this afternoon I found weeding by hand a pleasure on a bed which was well mulched last year. The weeds, mostly creeping buttercup and some straggling grasses, came out no sweat.
The other thing to remember about raspberries is their invasive nature. On my allotment , I dig deep and turn soil thoroughly either side of my north-to-south-facing row, simultaneously extracting the fibrous underground intruders before burning on a smouldering winter fire (never compost; they’ll likely keep growing on your heap).
Stood amongst six yew trees in a circle at the front of St James Church. A bitter chill blew through them and me. Looked out across the gravestones, dark against dark and getting darker, beyond a few trees and wires to the orange band of lights I think of as Stur Newton. Wondered if its right what they’re saying; “More snow coming in, probably Thursday.”
Copyright, Joe Hashman www.dirtynails.co.uk