Monday, November 8, 2010

Raspberry Canes

You may recall this post from back in April wherein I posted about planting raspberry canes.  I'm sad to report that only 4 of those canes appear to have lived.  (I hold out hope that some are dormant and will sprout back to life in the Spring.)  My excuses are that we had summer heat very early this Summer... and I didn't water them enough.  And when I got the new fence I miscalculated the increased amount of sun in that part of the yard -- too much, I think. 

But!  Good news:  I am fortunate enough to have another chance -- my sister visited from Minnesota over Halloween weekend, and for my hostess gift she brought me 18 raspberry canes from her garden.  Awesomeness!  They are the from the same canes that are at mom and dad's, the ones that were brought over from Finland.

When my sister arrived we liberated the canes from the giant Ziploc in her suitcase and put them in a bucket of rain water from my barrel.  They had been in there for a week so this weekend it was time to get them in the ground.   Project time!  (I have so many projects in my head right now it's insane...)

Red and I went to Home Depot and rented a rototiller -- I was positively giddy about it -- frankly nearly purchased one but was able to divert -- and toted it home.  The guy at the rental counter was knowledgeable and helpful but yowser -- he tracked about 2 conversation topics behind the entire time.  

Next I took Red's truck and went to Redenta's to get compost.  I love the Living Earth Technologies organic compost ( and Bucky at Redenta's advised that for the square footage I was working with that I would probably need 6 bags.  I added a bag of Bed Prep to that, which includes earth worm castings.  Gold, baby, gold!  Toted all that home.

When I got home, Red had already started tilling.  He'd done the most difficult part, which is making the first passes through ground that had not ever been tilled.  It didn't have grass growing on it  -- bonus -- but it was fairly well packed.  I did a pass through it, and then dragged the tiller aside to start adding soil amendments.

In went the following:
3 bags of LET Organic Compost
2 wheelbarrows worth of my very own compost from my compost tumbler
1 bags of mulched dry leaves (great nitrogen, which raspberries love)

And then we tilled again.  We reminisced about the similar equipment rental at my lake property... laughed...

Then I added the three remaining bags of compost, another batch of mulched leaves, and the bag of bed prep.  Talk about some beautiful soil!

I was so pleased that my home made compost was successful!  I had just said to Red earlier in the weekend that I needed to do a better job on my compost tumbler, and that maybe I would get an earth worm farm for my kitchen scraps instead.  But then I opened it up and found I had some great compost.  I know I could still improve my method for it, but it did look great.  It's also nice to have the older barrel empty going into winter.

I staggered the canes about 2 feet apart, stuck in flags so I wouldn't lose any, and hand watered each plant with rain water, and  topped it all off with 6 bags of cedar mulch.  I vow to do better on the watering, plus the cooler weather will help.  As I was kneeling in the dirt, planting, Red shouted from the driveway, "You look happy."  It was an awesome day.

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