End of Season Wrap Up

I know I have been MIA for awhile – it has been a really busy year and I have definitely been focusing more on our acreage and less on the computer. We have done so much here this year. So many projects, many having to do with garlic but other stuff too. I’ll fill you in over the next few weeks. I’m just glad that the majority of the outside work is done. Well, the really necessary stuff is! Wait a minute, I just thought of something else that needs to be done.

October and November are some of our favourite months of the year. The garden is finished, the tools have been picked up, the woodroom is full and we are feeling tired but so very content.

If we don’t get much snow, we can still get a lot accomplished outside. And, since the “end of season” work has already been done, these projects are all little “extras”. Who doesn’t like getting a few extras accomplished? I know we do!


Fall in the Valley


This is how the garden looked in late September. Lots of produce harvested, the garlic not yet planted and kale still going strong! You can see the tall Asparagus on the left; that plot has been in for about 9 years now and we enjoy lots of Asparagus early each spring. The Fall colours are so beautiful here; this picture doesn’t do them justice at all.

Sometimes, early November already sees six inches of snow on the ground. Other times, we don’t see much snow until into December. Time will tell as to when we get the first big dump of snow for 2016.

People who live in the Cariboo (or long time readers of our site) will know that one of the most important things for us to do in mid-October is to pick everything up that is laying around outside. Gardeners, including myself, are notorious for having garden tools scattered everywhere. There are hoses to be taken apart, coiled up and put away in the barn. Garden timers and sprinklers need to be put inside for the winter months. Shovels, rakes, hoes and spades need to be moved from the garden fenceline to a winter storage place under the porch or down at the barn.

We tend to gather things up over a few weeks and if we can’t get them brought down to the barn, we at least leave them on the pathway to the barn. This way if we go down to feed the chickens and are empty handed, we can pick a few things up to bring along with us. It is amazing at how long this process actually takes.

Invariably, we have a lot more tools and equipment just hanging around in the yard than we think we do. T posts and temporary chicken wire fencing need to be taken down or the snow will destroy the fencing.


How to provide winter protection for your Greenhouse


We tarp over the Greenhouse in an attempt to make it last “just one more year”. This will be a losing battle over the coming winter. We still have the original plastic from 2007 on here! It is now finally falling apart and come Spring we will have to replace it. Want to read about how we built our Greenhouse on the cheap? (That’s an older picture; we have no snow here yet.)

We continue watering any transplanted shrubs and small trees – Fall can be very dry here and it is easy to think that the watering can stop because it is much cooler, but that can often be a fatal mistake.

There are lots of things to be done to wrap up the season and once we get that accomplished, we can sit back and relax a bit. We have always tried to run our farm on a seasonal basis, which means we have very busy Springs and Summers, but much slower Winters. We are able to relax and travel if we want.



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The Raspberry Patch Needs a Good Fall Cleanup

I mentioned earlier that in June, I had given the Raspberry patch a thorough weeding and clean up. At this time of year, it is very easy to just pull up any new shoots that are “out of order”. If you don’t tidy up your patch in Spring, you will be amazed at how difficult it will be for you to get in there and pick berries later in the season.

It’s a really good plan to do this again once Fall arrives. By this time, you can easily tell which shoots have had fruit on them this year. Look at this first picture below:


Raspberry Patch, overgrown raspberries, fall clean up of Raspberries, grow your own fruit


The Raspberries are inside the fence on the far right side. See how you can easily differentiate? There are two sets of Raspberry plants in there:

1.  Last year’s Suckers – these are the shoots that are a paler green. They had fruit on them earlier this year.

2.  This year’s Suckers – Don’t pull all of these out as these are the shoots that will fruit Next year.




Raspberry Patch, overgrown raspberries, fall clean up of Raspberries, grow your own fruit


Once Berry season is over with, get in the patch and cut all those paler green shoots (the ones that gave you fruit this year). Cut them down as close to the ground as you can. We just throw ours in the bush next to the Berry Garden, but you could put them on your compost.

It goes without saying that you need to wear a long sleeved shirt and gloves for doing this. I always have a long sleeved lightweight shirt hanging on a fence post or in the Greenhouse, so I can quickly grab it when needed.



Raspberry Patch, overgrown raspberries, fall clean up of Raspberries, grow your own fruit


Here’s the Raspberry Patch after those paler shoots have been cut down. It’s starting to look better but the job isn’t done quite yet.



Raspberry Patch, overgrown raspberries, fall clean up of Raspberries, grow your own fruit


Now, get in there and pull out every single Raspberry shoot that is not within the rows you had planned. Raspberries are notorious for sending up new shoots willy nilly and if you don’t do this, you will again face the problem of battling your way through them in order to pick. Picking Raspberries should be a relaxing homestead chore, one that takes time and of course you have to stop to eat a few every now and then.

If you did a good job of cleaning up the Bed earlier this year, then it won’t take you long to pull out any shoots that grew in since. Be ruthless when it comes to pulling shoots – you will always have lots of Raspberries.



Raspberry Patch, overgrown raspberries, fall clean up of Raspberries, grow your own fruit


Here’s the finished result – there’s a definite pathway, which will make it easier to amend the soil with some well composted manure. Come Spring when the new growth starts, you’ll more easily be able to get to the plants to pull out any extra shoots. Keep this up and Raspberry picking will be a delight, not torture.

What to do with the extra shoots? The best thing to do with them is add more rows. Is there such a thing as too many Raspberries? I don’t think so – use them in Pies, Crisps, lots to eat fresh, then start making Raspberry Jam. Once you have enough Jam put away for the year, start making Juice. You can can it or freeze it. Still have more Raspberries coming? Think about making a small batch  of Raspberry Wine. A couple of years ago we did a Saskatoon Berry/Raspberry wine blended together and we still think it is the best wine we have produced here in the Valley. We made an eBook out of the recipe and process.

Back to the matter at hand – you’ve decided you do need more Raspberry plants. In the Spring, when you pull out all the new shoots coming up in places you don’t want them, just move them to where you do want them.

Prepare the new bed with native soil and a good amount of well composted manure. Dig through it thoroughly so the soil is light and airy. Transplant the pulled shoots directly into this bed. Make sure you leave 3 feet or so between the rows – the more the better. If you don’t have a lot of extra room to give up for the new patch, then you will just have to get in there and weed more often once the plants are established and sending up new shoots of their own.

I don’t bother digging up any shoots I want to save for replanting elsewhere. I just pull the plant out and it usually comes out with lots of root attached. So, dig or pull, whichever you feel like. Raspberries are hardy plants, they will survive almost anything.

Transplant them, firm up the soil around the new planting and then add some water. Next year, you will be glad you did this because you will be enjoying the fruits of your labour.

Raspberries are a wonderful inexpensive addition to your backyard – once you feel you have enough, then start giving away those extra shoots you pull. Really, you should never have to pay for Raspberry plants, they are often shared amongst neighbours and friends who want to add them to their own gardens.

Raspberries are one of the easiest fruits to grow. They offer quite a few health benefits such as improved immune systems, better vision, disease prevention and more.


Raspberry pictures, Raspberry harvest, grow your own fruit, homestead fruit


Raspberries do take a bit of maintenance, but it won’t amount to more than an hour (and usually much less) when you do have to weed or move plants. The rest of the time, just enjoy picking and eating them!