By Trf Cullers
This year, my new gardening venture is a fruit flavored one: raspberries! When I picked the ragged little roots up from my friend’s house last Monday, I couldn’t help but wonder how these small branch-like twigs could possibly grow into healthy, fruit-bearing bushes. You’d think that by this time I would have learned to trust the age-old process of resurrection: the certain cycle of death, rebirth, growth, maturity and death.
My daughter and I were able to get the roots into the ground just hours before the advent of a steady, two-day rainfall. When the ground had dried, and I was able to trek through the backyard without losing a shoe, I inspected the newly planted stems. To my great astonishment (owing, as previously mentioned, to a substantial lack of trust in the growing process), most of the bare sticks had proudly sprouted a few bright green leaves!
Today I mulched the plants with rich, woody soil from the woodpile. I’m hoping the chips will help keep the moisture in, since I dug the raspberry patch quite a ways from the outside water spigot! (I’m an English teacher, not an engineer!)
Research tells me that I should fertilize the plants soon to encourage maximum growth – and believe me, this theoretical farmer wants maximum growth! I was also happy to find out that the bees do a marvelous job of pollinating the plants. I will definitely make sure nobody dares to spray any kind of insecticide on my fledgling bushes.
I am considering turning into a complete fruit fanatic and starting strawberry and blueberry beds as well. Since I successfully dodged the “teaching summer school” bullet, I will have an entire nine weeks to focus on gardening. Who knows, maybe I’ll even turn into a real farmer some day!
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