Raspberries & Strawberries

I ran full steam ahead on this sunny day and finally thinned and pruned some of our berries. It was a berry busy day. To start things off I put on my awesome Pallina leather work gloves, complete with their protective gauntlets. These were an amazing sister gift from a couple months back. Berries can be prickly, so these are perfect. IMG_9768

I don’t know what varieties of raspberries we have in the 30-foot long row, although it’s clear that there are two types, so I did my best based on my research. They are vigorous and invasive; I needed to contain them to a 2-foot-wide row so that they can be supported by the trellis wires. I appreciate the simple and sturdy T-bar trellises built by the previous owners. IMG_9761

These are essential for holding up the canes as they get heavy with fruit. I also appreciate the well laid soaker hoses, since we do have a few dry months each year. So, I clipped plenty of volunteer shoots outside of the allowed zone with my shears. I cleared what looked like spent floricanes and spindly canes, and I weeded for over an hour. Tomorrow I’ll loosely tie canes to the wires with twine since despite my best effort I couldn’t find the ball of twine today. Because my discard pile didn’t have huge thorns or any any signs of disease, I called in the troops and had them cart it off to compost.

Next, I sat on a stool and tackled two, messy, low beds of strawberries.  These measure about 4×6′ each, and their location against a low fence which outlines the veggie garden and orchard actually makes it difficult to work in them without climbing into them.


These are cultivars and not the wild strawberries that grow in spots all over the gardens. Cultivated strawberries should just about be mowed down and reinvigorated (without disturbing their crowns) in the late summer, but this had not been done last year. I didn’t want to disturb any of the newest growth where flowers and berries will be forming, so I simply removed discolored foliage and thinned the overly crowded areas. These beds are very healthy, and runners have even jumped the edge of the raised beds and invaded the grassy area on the other side of the fence.  Of course I spent a lot of time weeding! I couldn’t help but laugh when I remembered how one sister and I would attempt to get out of our dreaded childhood chore of “weeding the strawberries” in naughty ways. We’d take the bucket Mom asked us to fill with weeds and partially fill it with debris or rocks then just top it with weeds to be done in a hurry, but Mom is too smart. Soon we were assigned a patch to completely clear of weeds… 🙂

I remembered to take one “after” picture:


Dare I say weeding was more fun today than in previous weeks and years. One of my favorite birthday gifts was this super cool Japanese Hori Hori knife from one dear sister. I am a danger to weeds when I wield this thing. IMG_9758

Now to head to the bathtub for a soak. Tonight I’ll dream of bright fresh berries, berry pies, cobblers, jams, and more.  Tomorrow I’ll tackle the beastly row of marionberry vines.

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