Not strictly propagation related but these are desperate times. For want of something to do in the garden, I have grubbed up the recently unproductive and grumpy autumn-fruiting raspberry canes. In a sneaky trip to the garden centre, under the cover of seeing if they had any good Christmas decs in the sale, I bought some new raspberry canes. Or as one of the kids said, pots with some sticks in. That is what they look like, to be fair. They were on sale, half price, so obviously I bought more than I need. More you spend, more you save, surely? I got three varieties, all claiming to be heavy croppers. I wonder if they ever sell raspberries as “rubbish croppers, won’t give much fruit”? I suspect not.  Two varieties (Cascade Delight and Glen Lyon) are summer fruiting, one (Polka) is autumn fruiting, so I should have a run of about 3 or 4 months of fresh raspberries. I have 12 canes in total to plant out, each of which should throw up a bunch of canes in the spring, so I’ll have a proper thicket by the summer.

In my buying frenzy, I didn’t read the small print about not planting in ground previously occupied by raspberries or indeed anything in the rubus family. This is to prevent my new canes catching a virus from the old ones, apparently. I thus got more work than I bargained for as I have had to move the gooseberries to where the tired old raspberries were.  It’s a good time of year to move them as they are hibernating for the winter. We have a redcurrant and a blackcurrent bush, the former fruits quite well, the latter not so much. I have moved both these plants although I was in two minds whether to keep the blackcurrant. I’ve given it a proper haircut, perhaps it will come back and fruit more enthusiastically in 2017. Better do, or it’s curtains for the boy blackcurrant. I moved these guys so I can get a good run of raspberry canes, adequately supported. I have visions of a post and wire arrangement with ranks of neatly tied-in  raspberry canes, stood to attention.  This would be in some contrast with the previous Heath Robinson arrangement, a cats cradle of bamboo and string that made picking what fruit there was a daily act of contortion. Perhaps the last set of canes actually died of shame owing to embarrassingly poor structural support.

Relocated gooseberries, pruned en route.
Last chance saloon
Relocated blackcurrant, severe haircut.
Well behaved redcurrant, trimmed back for structure and vigour.

Having weeded and dug over the soon-to-be raspberry bed, for good measure I’ve added some manure and soil improver.

Improving the soil

I’ve soaked the canes for as long as I can manage with limited daylight and now they’re ready to be planted out.

I’ve inadvertently started a raspberry trial! What would an actual raspberry trial look like? A kangaroo court, only fruitier? I accuse you of being a poor fruiter, how do you plead? I digress. I forgot to use micorrhizal fungi on the first variety, so we’ll see if that makes a blind bit of difference vs the two varieties where I did give them a sprinkle. I’ve given them all a good firming in and watered thoroughly. Here they are in all their glory.

Let the berries begin!

And the autumn ones:

I’ll report back in the spring on early growth and cane count.

Happy New Year!

I’ll be back.