The Gardener’s Corner

The Gardener’s Corner

Garden preparation shifts into full gear

Erik on early spring trimming of evergreens, prepping of berry beds, and fertilizing and watering

The weather is finally getting warmer, an excellent time to trim up the evergreens.

I invested in an electric hedge trimmer some years back; it is only meant for small jobs and uses the same battery as my power drill. This one can be attached to a pole with the possibility to reach a height of nearly 10 feet.

The trimming head is a 180-degree five-position pivoting head that allows for trimming of tops of hedges, so no need to use a step ladder.

If you have strawberries and have been in the same spot for three years, it is time to dig some of them up because the production dwindles after two to three years.

I have three rows of strawberries, so every year, one gets dug up, and runners from the other two rows will be planted in the new areas; perhaps where the carrots were growing last year.

It will also be the time to have a look at the raspberries. If you are like me, after finishing picking, I cut off all the canes just finishing producing and cut the new canes down to five feet.

So, right now, be looking for the most vigorous canes and cut off the weakest. For sunlight to ripen the raspberries, it is essential to allow only four to five canes to remain every 12 inches in the row. Then, it’s time to cover the root area with about one foot of leaves and grass clippings as it retains the water later on.

I also cover between the rows and a foot out from the raspberries.

When we had the farm on the Island, I had to clean out behind the animals daily in the winter. I wheeled the manure to the middle of our two rows of raspberries and spread it out in the spring.

Suffice it to say, we had a bumper crop, and no commercial fertilizer was used.

When you see the raspberry buds forming, it’s time to consider when to do the watering and fertilizing. For watering, I use a flat plastic sprinkler I roll out between two rows of raspberries. The question is, when is it time to water?

As I mentioned earlier, the moisture meter will tell us that. Be careful not to water the raspberries from overhead.

For fertilizing in June I use a 6-8-6 fertilizer. How much? Sometimes there is an indication of the bag. The better way is to keep an eye on the leaves; if they are pale, add some more.

It will also then be the time to fertilize the fruit trees—the recommended rate is one pound for each square inch of the fruit tree diameter spread the fertilizer under the drip-line; it’s the distance as far as the tree branches reach.

Now will also be a perfect time to get ahead with some weed control using a good long handle hoe to loosening them up, both in the flower beds and the vegetable garden.