I never understood the whole ‘allotment thing’ until a few weeks ago when my raspberries started coming up. Well, technically they are not ‘my’ raspberries as the straggly bush was already on our plot when we received the key in March. I was all ready to pull it out and burn it because I wanted a clean slate, a blank canvass, a pure plot. It was Granddad who persuaded us not to raze it down but rather let it be to assess if it was a summer or autumn fruiting variety.
Nurtured, watered, weeded and yielding sweet rubies
So we have nurtured it. Watered it. Got stung weeding ’round it for the last few months but it’s all been worth it for the tiny rubies which have started to appear of late. On Sunday while my husband strimmed the nettles and the girls made mud pies, I spent an hour carefully picking each gemstone. It was hard not to eat any in the process but we had all agreed tastings of crop would be together. They were so sweet. Sweeter than any I have ever tasted. Each one savoured for a few moments to taste the sun that had beaten down on them relentlessly of late.
To prune and when to prune?
We have but a few more weeks of fruit and then to prune. Must I?
I have grown to love the chaotic shrub and besides I’m scared of the spiteful thorns. I know I have to do it and I know the plant needs it. I’ve read that by limiting the number of ‘canes’, you force the energy of the root system to produce fruit on those left and but which ‘cane’ to cut and which to leave? I also understand that you give the plant more space to grow and there’s less likelihood of fungal diseases. It’s back to the old adage of needing to be cruel to be kind.
So do you have any pruning tips? Should I do it at all or let nature run its course?
Please do share your thoughts for I am an allotment novice and appreciate any advice. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy my sweet, sweet bounty with some creamy vanilla ice cream….