Friday, June 06, 2008

Berried in yard work

You may remember me threatening last fall to pull out the raspberry canes in the back corner of my garden because they had not been planted with a root barrier and were laying siege to the adjacent beds and lawn. A lot of the berries in the back went unharvested because I couldn't get to them at all. They seemed like they were going to be more trouble than they were worth.

Noooooo! many of you cried. Don't do it!

I wasn't really familiar with how raspberries grow, though; I hadn't realized that they need to be cut back completely in the fall anyway. Once I started pulling out the advancing troops by the roots and hacking back the overgrowth, I found there were four main clumps in the original planting. I named them all Audrey and told them they could stay, if they promised to behave.
As you can see, the Audreys did not suffer from their multiple amputations. But they're still plotting their escape. This weekend the root barrier is going in, and I've been careful to rip out every outlying shoot. These measures should, I hope, keep them in line enough so that I can harvest their fruit from the front and the back without having to don full protective gear. And the adjacent grass and flowers can breathe easy.

In other berry news, the strawberries gamely continue to produce at the other end of the lawn in spite of some water issues I failed to address (namely: they weren't getting any).
The parents died off, but their children moved closer to where the sprinklers were hitting (or maybe it's normal that the older plants disappear? must research). They're a little easier to keep out of the grass, so I will try to get some more water in the direction I want them to grow.

This is all a lot of work! But it's nice to know that such labor does bear fruit. And tasty fruit it is.


  1. I did a little digging (ah, puns never get old) . . . I know blackberries can be trained. Here's the raspberry version.

  2. Oh cool! That's very useful. I think it may be too late to do any serious trellising this year (or maybe not, but I don't feel like wrestling with that already well-grown canes). Next fall or early spring, though, I'll see if I can rig some up. I like that single-pole idea.

    Thanks, seth!

    db, I'll bet you could do strawberries in your window boxes ...

  3. I am suffering from raspberry envy. I love 'em and just bought a teeny container, on sale at King Soopers, for $2.50 -- and they aren't even from-the-bush fresh.

    Claire @

  4. It's amazing what fresh berries can cost! These are fall-fruiting, so it will be a while before I can harvest. Sweet anticipation!

  5. Jealous about the berries, to which I developed an allergy and can no longer even touch, let alone eat.