We would like to tell you about an easy way to increase your raspberry harvest for the year. We grow autumn raspberries in the garden and the usual advice is to cut down all stems to the ground after fruiting in late autumn and let the new stems grow up in spring to fruit again the following autumn. We wanted to try a slightly different approach after reading James Wong’s excellent book “Grow for flavour”. It is a book we can highly recommend because of it’s wonderful advise on growing a whole range of crops in ways that increase flavour and nutritional values.We cut down the canes from last year but only where they were crossing or were growing too close together. We should probably have done this in autumn but as quite a few jobs around the garden, we did not get around to it until early spring. The remaining canes we topped by about one third.
In spring our raspberries were full of blossoms and the sound of buzzing bees was beautiful to listen to every time we walked past. In late June the first raspberries ripened and we have been picking on an almost daily basis since then. Now, by mid July last year’s canes started to look very tired with wilting leaves and signs of mildew due to the wet weather. We decided to cut them down today and we managed to harvest a colander full of juicy berries. We simply cut all the canes with berries back to ground level and piled them up in our wheelbarrow, before stripping them of berries. All in all last year’s canes have given us many kilos of fruit that would have been lost if we had cut them down completely in the autumn.
In our raspberry patch we now have a lot of this year’s very healthy looking canes, just getting ready to flower and fruit later in the autumn. We think it is amazing that you can get two crops in one year instead of one. The biggest benefit was probably for the early bumble bees though, who were so busy in the spring. We will certainly do this every year from now on.
When we photographed the patch we just had to swing the lens around and snap a couple of photos of our bog garden as well. It is in full bloom and makes a perfect nursery for hundreds of baby frogs.
We would also like to share some happy news from our bathroom windowsill. Three years ago we rescued some very sorry looking orchid plants after flowering in our local supermarket. They were only two euros each and we bought them without knowing what the flowers would look like.This week one of them flowered for the first time. We are not disappointed.