Sunday, 5 March 2017

Blow The Raspberries!

When March comes in like a lion, it goes out like a lamb.

Let's hope so, for it has roared quite strongly so far.

Saturday 4th March 2017
A day tending to the raspberries. My rows of raspberries have wandered away from where I wanted them. What's worse, I've lost the autumn fruiting varieties in amongst the summer fruiters!
It's my own fault for not keeping them all under control.

I also made the mistake of introducing some tansy plants as a companion. They went mad too! Tansy has a delightful honeyish aroma and flowers prolifically, but when I originally read that it 'can become invasive' I just trusted to luck that it wouldn't on my smallholding. Mistake.
Nettles have also invaded to a lesser extent.

It looks a mess right now, but give it one more day...
Ideally the raspberries would have been sorted out before the end of February, but we are only a bit late and they are only just coming out of their dormancy. With the ground wet it is in prime condition for extracting the weeds. Even deep dock roots give themselves up without too much trouble.

But in the raspberry patch it's time for things to change. I'm putting my foot down. I have decided that henceforth neat, orderly rows are required, with mulch mat in between to hold back the weeds and to keep the canes in their place. This has meant moving raspberries from where I want paths and weeding the current paths, much of which is to become raspberry bed.

It has turned into a three day job (what with dodging the showers and fitting smaller jobs in between for a break) and I am more than half way through.

I have also decided to order in some new autumn-fruiting stock. Research led me to Joan J, the variety most people seemed to recommend for taste and yield. I have also ordered some All Gold, which bear yellow fruit and are supposed to taste good too.
I will carefully keep these varieties separate from the others. Besides, they need a simpler support system than the summer raspberries.

The second job for the day was to erect some heras fence panels to create a secure area for the ducks. These were well on their way to being erected before the early days of March unleashed their roar and I chose to lay them back down until I could secure everything firmly.
The ducks will be the first of the poultry to be allowed back out after an enforced three month incarceration courtesy of Avian Flu H5N8 and the Chief Government Vet.
Preparations are still ongoing to get some of the other birds out in the next couple of days. I am really looking forward to how happy they will be when they see grass, soil and sky again.

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