Monday, April 26, 2010
Time to thin our raspberries
I really don’t like thinning new canes of our red raspberries. Removing about half of them seems counter-intuitive. More canes, more berries—right?
No, more isn’t always better in our gardens. Why?
The reasons are similar for many fruits and vegetables. Good spacing increases air circulation and helps prevent diseases. Thinning also promotes stronger plants and higher yields—sort of like suckering tomatoes or thinning beets.
So last Thursday I got out my pruners and cut off the extra canes where they emerged from the soil, leaving the remaining canes six inches apart in all directions—well, more or less. As I tossed the cuttings into piles, I tried to convince myself once again that the remaining canes will produce bigger berries than the crowded canes would have.
When an Alberta clipper come roaring through next winter and a “secondary low” sneaks up the Atlantic coast and dumps a few feet of snow on our driveway, I’ll go to our freezer, take out a bag of frozen Heritage raspberries, put a handful of the beautiful red berries into each of our cereal bowls, then cover them with hot oatmeal, and add a modest halo of milk.
Yummy. I won’t even remember my reluctance to thin the canes in April.