Time For A Rain Dance?

It’s early August and we've seen less than four inches of rain over the last ten weeks. Even the native plants are drooping, and it’s hard to think about anything but watering. It makes us feel rewarded for all that mulch we spread in the spring, but still, we can’t help thinking it wasn’t enough. Also, the irrigation is showing its age, apparent in the time spent puttering about plugging holes and repairing hose ends. All gardeners tend to get weary this time of year, but on the flip side, produce is rolling in now at a steady pace!

This week we look at fall-bearing raspberries, New Zealand Spinach, making refrigerator pickles with all those cucumbers, and preserving those tomatoes in a new and delicious way.


Raspberries

It's August now so our fall-bearing raspberries are flowering and all abuzz with bees. A few have ripened, but the bulk of the crop will come in at the end of the month and last through till the first hard frost.

What is the difference between a fall-bearing rasp and the rest? Fall-bearing raspberries are called Primocanes, which means a perennial raspberry that bears fruit on first-year canes and completes the cycle in one year.   Alternatively, summer bearing raspberries - or Floricanes - are also a perennial raspberries but bear fruit on the second-year canes taking two years to get raspberries from that cane. The pruning requirements are different and can be hard for some people to remember and execute.

Here are the main reasons we prefer the fall-bearing primocane raspberry:

  • They are very productive

  • They fruit all at once so we can make jams and freeze large amounts of fruit.

  • They are easier to prune. The fruit is borne on the current year’s canes and therefore at the end of the year, all the canes can be cut back to the ground - no wondering if this cane fruited last year or not

  • They are very yummy!

Wondering about growing raspberries? Here is a video on the basics of how to grow them. Either way you go, summer or fall-bearing raspberries, you won’t regret having those yummy red orbs to pick next year!




New Zealand Spinach


We have been so impressed with our crop of New Zealand spinach this year. Spinach is a favorite with everyone in our house but our lame attempts to grow typical spinach have ended with few leaves harvested before it bolts under the July heat. So last year we trialed a few New Zealand Spinach plants and, though it was tricky getting the seeds started, the results were amazing and this year we have had a summer-long of abundant green leaves from a prolific plant that doesn't seem to mind the summer heat.