We went on our first Raspberry picking trip this weekend. We drove to a farm on Sauvie Island and found a sweet little place with Raspberries, Blueberries, Strawberries and cutting flowers available. It was family-run with mum and grandma weighing out the fruit under make-shift tents and people tripping off into the distance with cardboard flats and coming back laden with fruit – too much fruit in many cases but that’s what you do at fruit farms right?
It was a hot day and our children were never going to make it all the way to the Strawberry patch so we stopped at the first row of Raspberries we came to. Predictably, the row had no ripe fruit in the first 20 paces or so but further in where fewer human hands had been the fruit dripped off the canes and we started filling our cases. The children loved it. They ran up and down picking (and eating, of course) like they had never had Raspberries before. Jackson took to sitting in the cart in the shade and eating directly out of the box as I picked them – well it’s much easier that way, he figured out.
I loved our fruit-picking time. It was like stepping back in time to a ‘me’ in the thirties or forties. I imagined that I lived down the lane in my tumble-down cottage and this was my nearest farm where I collected my fruit. In my mind I was also dressed in a tea dress and heels with urchin, shoeless children and probably a husband in an army uniform somewhere. That didn’t happen. But it probably should.
If your Raspberry leaves are starting to look like this, kind of variegated and in some cases a bit yellow, they probably have an iron deficiency, and possibly a manganese deficiency too. I know because mine look like this!
I first noticed it a few weeks ago and actually thought it made the whole plant look a bit more interesting. But I looked it up in my edition of ‘Growing Fruit’. And, yep, there it was, iron deficiency.
The book recommended reducing the amount of water I gave to the plants in the short term and in the long term applying iron sulphate (bought from garden centre) to increase the iron in the soil. And if that doesn’t cure it some Epsom Salts to top up the manganese.
I will also be culling the canes (again) this Winter as I still have way too many Raspberries and I think the close proximity to each other is aggravating their growing conditions. It’s all go in the Raspberry bed right now!
I know this is weird but I have a Raspberry glut. My Autumn Raspberries are producing at such a rate that the three of us can’t keep up with them. Infact, we’re a little bit sick of eating Raspberries (when I say we, I don’t mean a certain 2-year-old who is happy to eat them for breakfast, dinner and tea!).
So, I decided to make some Raspberry milk with the surplus. Just a cup full of milk in the blender with a handful of Raspberries. That’s all. No sugar needed.
Then serve to your waiting customers.
I picked a few of the first Autumn Raspberries today. They were amazing! I copied Harry Dodson’s way of harvesting them from the ‘Victorian Kitchen Garden’ DVD by picking a few leaves and putting them in a wooden box. A bit of overkill I think for the size of harvest, but still, it made it feel special.
I might have to think about culling the number of canes I have this Winter as they’re starting to take over that side of the garden. Maybe if I take out every other one I should be able to thin them out in that way.
But for now I’m enjoying Raspberries every morning from my bumper crop! I love this time of year don’t you :)
We’re continuing with the opening up of the former fruit patch and we’re about half way there (when I say we, of course I mean Ryan). The plan is to leave most of the bushes intact but to remove some strategic specimens to create lovely wide beds that will house the big stuff next year, such as sweetcorn, pumpkins, and main crop potatoes – leaving mtp free for the more delicate crops such as salad leaves. We already have a line of very successful summer raspberries but I plan to add an ‘even more successful’ line of autumn raspberries – I’m thinking Autumn Bliss (or the variety that Monty was talking about last week Joan something). We’ll also be extending our fruiting bush portfolio into the blackberry market, either Oregon Thornless or Bedford Giant if I’m feeling adventurous. Maybe even dabbling in a few blueberries – we’ll see how the funds go.