My Maui induced good cheer is wearing off – much like my tan. My skin has faded to a sickly yellow shade which looks particularly sallow under our unrelenting grey skies. I know I shouldn’t complain, at least it’s warm compared with the rest of the country.
We’ve had so much precipitation that my yard is sodden, and squelches underfoot when I venture out to empty the compost bucket, feed the bunnies, and clean up after the dogs. And that’s about the limit of my gardening these days (well except harvesting leeks the other day).
Scratch all that! I have just come in for lunch (a bowl of delicious leek soup!) after spending a sunny morning playing in the garden. It’s amazing how a little sunshine can change my outlook!
I pruned my apples, grapes, peach and the little cherry tree, which sounds like a lot of work, but remember this is a new garden and everything is still small. This may seem premature to those whose gardens are still buried beneath snow, but my zone 7 garden is starting to show unmistakable signs of spring. We still may see some cold temperatures and snow in February, but we are equally likely to enjoy the first of the spring blossoms and I might even need to mow the lawn!
I also pruned my Autumn Bliss raspberries. They are an everbearing variety, more correctly called primocane bearing, which means that they bear fruit on new canes late in the summer and into autumn. Usually I cut them to the ground in the fall after frost finishes off the last of the fruit and foliage.
I’ve grown Autumn Bliss for years and I love them for their long harvest which stretches from early August into the fall. The canes continue flowering and setting fruit until hard frost, although if the weather turns rainy the berries get mushy and moldy.
That’s exactly what happened last year and combined with a poor spring which gave everything a late start, my harvest was pitiful. It was really frustrating because they were just beginning to ripen a ton of fruit when the rains began!
So I’m trying a new tactic this season. Rather than cut all the canes out I’ve only removed half of the row. The remainder I topped to remove the part that fruited last year. I know that they will, like regular raspberries, bear fruit on the year old canes in July. The primocanes will grow up and fruit late in the season as well, and I’m really curious to see if the section where they will produce two crops can produce as well as the part where I cut the canes to the ground as usual. My gut feeling is that the double cropped end won’t bear as well, having exhausted some energy in the early crop, but we’ll see.
The sun has disappeared behind clouds once again, but I feel better having gotten some fresh air and vitamin D. And I’m optimistic spring will be here soon!