The Gardener’s Corner

The Gardener’s Corner

How to get the most out of your berry bushes and veggies

Eric writes about raspberries, currents, cauliflower, kale and Brussels sprouts

Are you thinking of planting berry bushes?

I have always had raspberries, the red ones. A year ago, I decided to grow the yellow kind when a friend offered me some runners. How do you grow raspberries?

The preparation can be enormous if you don’t have any topsoil soil to plant in. The best location is an out-of-the-way area where they can have sunshine most of the day. If you, like me, don’t have any soil, you’re as we call it, starting from scratch; a chicken can show you how.

The first job will be to make a trench, one foot deep by two feet wide. Because raspberries thrive on moisture, it is essential to gather all the organic matter you can get, including grass clippings, to mix in; it will turn to compost quickly if you turn it over every third day.

Keep adding garden refuse and work it until you have soil two feet thick. While waiting for the composting, install a four-by-four post in each end of the trench, five feet tall, with cross-sections, two by four, two feet apart, four feet wide.

No, you’re not going to build a house, but it doesn’t pay to be cheap. Suppose you know someone who will give you some raspberry runners, bring them home and store them in in a temporary shaded area, but do not plant them in the raspberry bed until the compost has cooled down.

For raspberries and red, yellow and black currant bushes, you must give yourself lots of space to enjoy them.

Visualize the full-size bush and add the width of a wheelbarrow between the rows.

Another essential task with all these berry bushes is pruning. I prune my raspberries right after the last picking, but I will get into that later.

If you want to enjoy a crop of cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts, you can advance those crops by planting the seeds into small individual plastic soil-filled pots or biodegradable peat pots.You can then be several weeks ahead.

If you buy plants for the vegetable garden, you can speed things up by replanting them into individual pots. Get them as soon as they are available and dip the containers in water until no air bubbles show. Then, carefully separate the plants, trying not to damage the roots.

Take some moist planting soil in one hand, squeeze it, then lay one plant on top, add another handful of potting soil and again squeeze it all together. Plant this ball into four-inch pots making sure they are full. Keep them at a temperature of 60F (15C). By doing this, you will advance your harvest by several weeks.

If you have questions or suggestions for topics, please email me:

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