You might have seen me tweet that I was going to rid the early raspberry bed of nettles … well I did it 🙂 This first pic is the beginning, horrid, all full of nettles which hadn’t been properly cleared for a couple of years. Mea Culpa !!! I just didn’t get a round tooit last year – I’m sure you all know they’re always very hard to find and in short supply 🙂
It’s good to give the raspberries a clear shot at the soil and all its goodness. The nettles and other weeds (ie plants in th wrong place) will all compee with the raspberries for the food and, even more importantly, the water, and they’re much tougher and stronger and better at grabbing stuff than the raspberries.
Raspberries are hedge-plants, our garden varieties were bred from our native hedge-plants. They grow much larger fruit than the natives and fruit for much longer periods. In order to do this they’ve lost the tough, competitve naturre they had before we changed them so we must help them live and grow by removing the competition and feeding them well. It’s a fair exchange.
I neglected these poor souls last year so they really desrved the attention of the last couple of days and, hopefully, they’ll reward me with lots of juicy raspberries in a couple of months.
It was tough work. The nettles had serious roots and many of them were tangles around the roots of the raspberries which meant I had to dig out the raspberries to get the nettles out and then replant them. This requires care as it’s never good to allow roots to dry out and digging them up makes this a danger. To avoid it I wrapped the roots in a wet towel while I got all the nettles out.
In the picture above you can probably see piles of nettles and weeds along the side of the bed. using the principle of roots drying out in reverse I left them to wither rather than heap them up. Tomoorow they should all be dead and then I’ll collect them up and put them in the compost heap.
And finally I finished! The bed is clean, I added extra compost – all prepared from last year with the biodynamic preps in it – to give them more food, plenty of cover for their roots and a general boost.
They’re budding up now, the flowers coming, so tomorrow morning I’ll also give them a spray of prep 501 – that’s the spray preparation that deals wih the parts of the plant above the ground. Tomorrow is a fruit day so giving them a 501 spray on the fruit day will encourage them to fruit well. They’ll get another 501 spray next month (on a frui day) to help them fruit well.
I’ll probably give them a cow-pat-pit spray later too. That will give them an extra boost which they really do need after all the disturbance of the past couple of days.
Biodynamics is very good to help with things like this. As gardeners we all have to do this kind of remdial work in our gardens so anything that helps is good. I’m really looking forward to those raspberries …