Thursday, October 7, 2010

Raspberry Comeback! by Gardener Cumax

Raspberry canes 2 days after the July 21, 2009 tornado
Over the past week the raspberry canes have been going nuts. It’s very heartening to see because last year the canes were stripped and damaged by the weather even that shall not be named. They didn’t look any better in the Spring.

I bring this up because a fellow master gardener once said that pruning raspberries in the Fall or earlier would result in fruitless canes the next year. That alone made me consider, for a brief second, to plant anew. 

But the part of me that has learned to trust Nature to see what will happen won over.  It always does. I love gardening some times for no other reason than to experiment with plants and see what happens.

And what a happening! Bees have been pollinating it like nuts. Between that the Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia), the bees deserve all the credit for a bumper crop of berries.
4'+ canes bend over from the weight of their berries. September, 2010
Speaking of berries, some of you master gardeners might be aware of Panayoti Keladis’ friend Steve Miles of Boulder. Steve has a one of the best cacti and succulent gardens around.

Unnoticed among the immense number of cacti species is a huge thornless blackberry bramble in his back yard. Most years the cane reach 20+ feet. This year it was shorter vines but much more fruit.

I had the opportunity last Saturday to get back up to Steve’s place. While the Hill slumbered I got busy and harvested a ton of big black juicy nuggets. Those that were too ripe fell right into my pie hole. The rest came home to share with friends.

Now here’s the weirdest thing about those blackberries: Steve has lived there since before the blackberries. It’s 5 blocks from Chautaqua Park, which is prime bear territory. In all these years the bears have never found those blackberries. Maybe they don’t like them, and maybe trash tastes better. There’s nothing like fresh berries from the vine.

What to eat? Just head to the garden and eat there!
Note: I continue to use Neptune’s Harvest Fish Fertilizer on everything. That’s part of the reason the raspberries came back better than ever before.