Raspberry harvest

Or perhaps Harvest’s raspberries?  Back in January, Harvest distributed free raspberry canes to community gardens in the city as part of their efforts to promote edible growing (see January blog).

We had four. We planted two in the shadier central raised bed, and the other two in pots nearer the railings. The whole point of the canes was that they should be in publicly accessible places to positively encourage people to pick them when passing by.

The two canes in the raised bed have done spectacularly well (see left). We’ve had raspberries, the kids on their way back from Downs school have had raspberries and visitors to the garden this weekend had raspberries.

In fact, everything we planted in the raised beds has done well. It’s probably the mixture of garden top soil, stable manure and Countrystyle mulch. And the canes have put out new shoots which we can dig up and replant elsewhere. It helps also that the raspberries have been regularly watered – much credit to all those who’ve kept the garden going over our highly unpredictable summer –  and they are not in full sun.

The two most accessible canes are planted in large plastic pots with the bottoms cut out. We took special care over the planting medium: I think it was John Innes number 3 (a soil-based compost) together with some well rotted stable manure or chicken manure pellets, and topped off with the Countrystyle mulch. The plants are doing well, but compared with the ones in the raised beds, their leaves are a little yellower, they are not as big and they have fruited less – which is a bit of a pity, precisely because these are the accessible canes. However, I discovered yesterday that they are doing what they were intended to do.

A neighbour was passing while I was in the garden, and as usual, stopped to chat about how things were growing. He mentioned he was thinking about planting pear trees in his front garden, but wondered whether people would steal the pears. I said that so far, we’d had very little evidence of anti-social behaviour, either in our gardens or in my front garden where I’d planted fruit trees.

‘Ah, but people must be stealing off those raspberry canes’, he said, pointing to the pots near the railings. ‘That’s what they’re there for’, I explained. ‘Oh, that’s good’, he replied. ‘because somebody’s definitely been pinching ’em’. I looked quizzical. ‘Yes’, he grinned, ‘and they were very good’.

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