Article

Raspberry dreams

My sister says, “I like to plant and grow what I like to eat.” I agree. I like to eat raspberries. When a 1/4 pint is $4 at the market, growing my own seems ideal. Growing my own also means raspberry jam: berries, sugar and pectin. That is winning. Unlike blackberries, at least my wild variety of blackberries, that grow in mounded, throny meanness, raspberries need to grow vertically. I found a great image on Pinterest for a raspberry trellis and was determined to make my own.
Pinterest raspberry
So, last March, I single-handedly built my own raspberry trellis. I did a great job if I do say so. All level and sturdy.
Biddan berry trellis
I even bought some raspberry canes at Lowe’s but they were not ideal for my zone and failed. So I waited patiently, an ordered (in August 2014) raspberry canes from Nourse Farms.
Raspberry roots
They sold a variety cultivated especially for my zone. Again, winning! They even offer planting guidance through their videos.


I feel very confident I will have raspberries in the fall.

Article

Taking Stock

It is finally sunny with a perfect spring temperature of 82F. After 5 straight days of sunlessness, raining and cold with temps rarely above 55F and in the 30F at night – which for Florida is exceptionally rare and annoying – the weather is a greatly welcomed respite. I walked the property taking stock. We’d had a warming spell about a month ago and I was (too) bold and planted my seed starts that I had been nurturing since late December. I transplanted four varieties of cucumbers in my search for the perfect pickle. I planted my pasting tomatoes with the goal of my own canned tomato paste and sauce. I planted peppers and cabbage and basil. I even planted my bush beans.

All of it is dead. A harsh eight hour frost last Wednesday night/Thursday morning killed everything. Tomorrow, I will simply sow seeds right into the ground and start anew. Given that this is my second gardening season, I must accept the learning curve.

The olives fared this winter much better and there are only a few browned leaves as opposed to extensive browned branches last year. One of the six pecan trees planted last February has officially died or rather, I am declaring the death official. I’ve long suspected it had died when it stopped leaving. I will need to get a replacement tree. All three pears, which are all different varieties are leafing and the sand pear has flowers. I am excited since that is the only pear I have designs for use in my conserve. The peach is also flowering but it is a lopsided tree after having lost its main left side of branches last year to frost damage. The chickasaw plum has leaf buds but no flowers yet. That tree is going to be fun to watch and if I get fruit, to make plum jam. The blueberries are on the verge of exploding into green and much to my surprise and pleasure, the raspberry canes appear to have taken root and are growing. Yippee. I won’t expect any fruit from them until next fall. Also, thebirds have discovered the trellis and the bird feeders and they are quite content.

Article

Raspberries

When I stumbled across raspberry canes for sale at my local Lowe’s store, I was intrigued because everyone kept telling me that raspberries don’t grow here. So, I defiantly bought three canes. I then did a bunch of reading and research and discovered that there are raspberries that will grow here. Now, these three canes I purchased might not be the right variety for my zone, but it set into motion the need to build a trellis for the raspberry canes to grow. This was my prototype, discovered on Pinterest.

Prototype and model I made my supply list and my sons helped me get all the lumber and concrete home from Lowe’s. Yesterday, in about four hours I built my own raspberry trellis. You first need to select an area that stays shaded. Raspberries aren’t great fans of intense full day sunshine, especially this far south. I selected the flatest area of my lot so as to not have to make that much adjustment for slope. I had bought 8ft pressure treated 4×4 beams. I dug 24 in, 22 in and 18in deep holes, respectively.

Posts in holesI needed only two bags of concrete mix to anchor each hole. I took care to level the posts.

Check for levelVerify level

 

 

 

 

I learned that anchoring the 5/8 x 6in x 8ft planks was difficult as a single person job. I had to improvise a second set of “hands”.

Improvise for 1 personDrilling pilot holes made an easier job of getting the 1st screw anchored.

Pilot holesI then used heavy gauge wire cutters to cut out sections of the coated wire fencing to set down over the 4×4 beams and onto the cross planks. I anchored that with U nails.

U nails I then added wrought iron hooks and two bird feeders to better mark the corners of the unit so that when the yard man is mowing he doesn’t run into the green coated wire that protrudes from the sides.

100_0229I amended the soil with compost from my own bin and plants the raspberry canes. I MIGHT get berries in the fall. If not, I will order new canes next fall for planting.