Monday, November 21, 2016

Urban and Suburban Gardening - A Little Bit of Fall Harvest

This year for the first time I had a fall harvest of raspberries, a small harvest, but a harvest none the less. I have often wondered about encouraging my raspberry canes to produce in the fall. And it seems there were two contributing factors this year. One I had control over, the other not.

First, I didn't cut back canes as early as I usually do despite the pressure to do so.
My raspberries are between my garage and the alley. A perfect spot for them as it provides natural barriers to the weed like growth tendencies of the canes. The location, however, tends to include the neighbors in my suburban gardening efforts.

The neighbors seem to fall into two groups. The first set includes the concerned and skeptic, they express concern over the possibility of the raspberry canes causing damage to vehicles, specifically scratches on car paint. Even though I want to be a good neighbor, this year I left the cane trimming for later and with the unseasonably warm weather extending into the fall as an added factor, the canes produced again in October. Another group of neighbors doesn't complain. They just harvest freely. This years overly abundant harvest produced enough to share, the heat curtailed any over zealous foragers and they weren't expecting berries in the fall! The small fall raspberry harvest was few but it was all mine!

What ever view the neighbors take, the raspberries love their location.They thrive there and produce in abundance. And maybe I shouldn't admit this but, they really are not labor intensive at all! This year, when on one occasion I made the mistake of picking during the heat of the day, the work was long, tedious and a little sweaty. That task at that time of day forced me to consider those who do agricultural work and pick for a paycheck. They are out picking for hours a day to provide what we can easily find and buy at a grocery store. Remembering them makes me thankful for every bite!

Raspberry care tip for fall: harvest the leaves, cut back the canes (especially by the neighbors garage!), throw on some compost, spruce and pine needles, viola!

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