Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pruning Everbearing Raspberry Canes

I really should have tackled this job last fall while there was still some foliage on my everbearing raspberry canes. The goats would have appreciated me for it. And I would have appreciated myself come January when I find myself having to tackle the job in the mud.

Everbearing raspberries are raspberries that will set canes and develop fruit on the tips in the late fall, around late August through our first frost in October, here in the Northwest, the same season the canes are grown. The following year, those same canes if left alone will generate new growth from the lower half of the cane and produce berries in June. In the meantime, they do generate a modest amount of new canes to begin the fall berry production again that same year. A pretty good arrangement.

In some years I have simply taken the canes down to the ground in the spring and have had an amazing, abundant crop of fall berries. However, by that time of the year after feasting on fresh fruit all summer, you tend to lose the tenacity to get out there and harvest all they have to offer. So last year, I cut half of my bed back to the ground and pruned the others down half-way so as to get a June crop and a fairly large fall crop. It worked so well, that I'm going to take that approach again this year.

Here are a couple of shots of the raspberry canes that were cut half way back so that they will produce a crop the following June.

And here are another couple of shots showing those that I have taken back to the ground to encourage heavy new growth that will produce a fall crop of berries.

The job for tomorrow, or the next day I get out there I suppose, will be to truck loads of composted manure from our horse stalls which is comprised of disentigrated pelleted bedding and manure, of course. Or if I tackle the other half of the goat shed, it will be a layer of wasted grass hay and goat manure pellets. The best scenario would be horse manure first and then hay mulch on top. But of course that would be ideal and not necessarily reality.

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