Monday, April 26, 2010

The Raspberries Taste Like Raspberries


Another beautiful day at the farm as spring sets in and it's incredible to see how quickly everything has grown.  In just a few weeks it has gone from

So many surprises as this new season comes to life, just check out these rookies...
During lambing (when baby sheep are born), the ewes (female sheep) are enclosed in the barn for a safer, warmer environment, but we were lucky enough to get an insider look just days after these little lambs were born.  

Being the New Yorkers that we are, we asked the obvious question:  what is the difference between a lamb, sheep and a ram?  We learned that any baby sheep under one year old, is called a lamb.  After one year, the males are called rams and the females are called ewes.  As you can see this ewe is grilling us and clearly wants her privacy.
But we weren't going to spend our whole day staring at sheep, there was work to be done.

Today was the perfect day for learning about raspberries, but first we had to make some fresh topsoil.
Like a gourmet chef, Captain Jack whipped up his famous soil mix that you may remember from a few months ago, click here and get a quick update on the recipe.
Look at how rich and moist this fresh soil is
It was finally time to get outside of the greenhouse and this hill was perfect for raspberries.  We backed up the Kubota ready to drop the topsoil
While the Captain slowly drove, we shoveled on some of that new rich topsoil to add a nice nutritious coat to each bed.
Step 2 involved adding all the extra raspberry treats:  kelp, minerals, and sulfur.
We were taught to think about our arms as paintbrushes spreading the nutrients evenly to avoid any clumps.
We used a rake to mix it all together, but there was still a few more unusual things to do before this bed was ready.
The greenhouse used overhead sprinklers, but out here the raspberries used T-Tape irrigation, which is an economically and environmentally efficient way to irrigate crops.  There are little holes in the T-Tape, which slowly drip water out onto the raspberries to maintain moisture without using excessive amounts of water.
You want to leave about a foot of extra T-Tape at the end of each bed so you can easily attach the water source and so it doesn't get buried.
The final step was also the most interesting.  Unlike the vegetables in the greenhouse which thrive in a bacterial environment using compost as the catalyst, the raspberries enjoy a fungal environment.  To create this fungus friendly setting, we topped each bed with piles of decomposing leaves.
You want to make sure that the T-Tape is buried under the leaves so the water is able to reach the earth surrounding the plants.

We used rakes to tidy up each bed and even though it was not as daring as his last heroic endeavor, Matt made sure to leave no leaves behind.
Although moldy, it looked quite beautiful from a distance.

Interesting note
I was curious to know why the Captain chose to use sulfur this time.  It turns out that sulfur aids growth by providing slickness to the soil and lowering the PH level which allows the raspberry plants to absorb more nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus and potassium.  It's good to remember the importance of soil as the plants act as a medium to transfer the nutrients found in the soil into our bodies once we eat them.  


  1. How long for the raspberries to start blossoming? Is that what it's called, blossoming? Very interested in seeing pics once the raspberries have grown. Great post, my favorite so far.

  2. Thanks, it's always great to get questions so we can all learn more. I'm very happy to hear that you are enjoying the farm and we will make sure to get some pictures up as soon as the raspberries begin to bloom.

    Raspberries have an interesting growth pattern. Unlike vegetables such as carrots and radishes which have seeds that you can save or purchase, raspberries must be passed on from stems called canes.

    As discussed earlier in the post, raspberries are perennial which means that once they flower and produce fruit they will die and eventually grow back. This process will continue until the plants are rooted from the ground.

    There are many varieties of raspberries; some canes can produce fruit in their first year whereas most wait until their second year. On this farm, the raspberries are on a two year program. In order to have raspberries each year, they stagger growth. In the first year the canes are called suckers or primocanes and do not produce fruit. In the second year they become floricanes which yield flowers and raspberries. The raspberries don’t really blossom, but the flowers blossom and this leads to the raspberries.

    The bed we amended has been planted with new raspberry canes so there will be a delay and we won’t see any until next year; however, don’t fret as there are other floricanes on the farm ready to produce and we will be sure to keep you updated. These will begin blooming in succession as the weather warms up and there is more sunlight available. Some take longer to mature than others, so there is no real pin-down point for how long they take to grow. Some will be in a few weeks, whereas others could take a few months, it all depends on their genes.

    Keep the questions coming and enjoy