Raspberries: Round Two

If you've noticed it's been quiet around the blog these past few of days, you are not mistaken.  This is the time of year when I become more keenly aware of how every good gardening day is something to take full advantage of, so I have spent most of my free time outside soaking in all the late summer perfection I can while working feverishly away at my fall to-do list.

The fall raspberry crop is just starting to ramp up, so the first order of business was to tame the raspberry patch to make harvesting will be a little easier in the days and (hopefully) weeks ahead.

Our raspberries are fall bearing raspberries, which means that the new canes that sprouted up out of the ground this year are just now setting on their first fruits (the fall crop). This crop is the larger (and longer) of the two, yielding healthy quantities of large, plump berries, usually right up until the first hard frost.  These canes will  then overwinter, set on new growth in the spring, and produce one more smaller crop next July (the early crop), before dying back completely.  
After some serious pruning of the old canes, I started working on reclaiming the path from the strawberry runners (if anyone local wants some strawberry plants, hit me up!), pulling out some Nightshade and Virginia Creeper that were trying to make themselves at home in the thick of the raspberry canes, and resetting the vinegar traps (which are working amazingly well!).

We're also working on some repairs and a fresh coat of paint on the shed in this corner of the yard, and then we plan to get a thick layer of cardboard and wood chip mulch down in the empty space behind the shed and just beyond the raspberries before fall is over (the ultimate goal is to put a bee hive back here next summer).  We're also contemplating expanding the strawberries and raspberry patches a bit, and possibly adding some additional fruit plantings (blueberries and maybe a fruit tree of some sort).  Piece by piece, "the fruit garden" is evolving and taking shape!   
And yet whenever I am out in the freshly cleaned up raspberry patch on these late summer evenings, the busy days and ambitious list of projects just kind of fades into the background as the berry bowl fills up.  These are the moments I look forward to all year long, and the moments I so want to bottle up and make last as long as possible before the cold sets in and puts an end to another growing season.

It's kind of poetic that the fall raspberries are just getting going, even as other parts of the garden are starting to wind down, so I hope you'll forgive me if posting gets a little light in the coming weeks; I don't want to miss a moment of this most perfect time of year!