Late winter is the time to prune raspberry bushes. I’m not trying to present a how-to here. There are plenty of those available from better gardeners than me online. This is just how I accomplish what works for me.
In late winter I grab the pruning shears and a pair of leather gloves, then head to my little row of berry bushes. I get down on hands and knees and look closely at every cane. There’s a gray bark on canes that have done their bearing. The cane on the right is one of those…
The floricanes (that’s what second year canes are called) all get pruned to ground level. Any spindly or dead-looking canes come out. Then I thin what’s left to 5 or 6 canes per foot of row. That makes for more vigorous plants and a better yield of larger berries. I also take out any canes that think they need to live in the suburbs.
That’s it. Over the course of the winter I sprinkle my own coffee grounds around the berry patch, and scratch them into the soil when the ground thaws. (I save the big bags of grounds that I collect from Starbucks for the compost piles and the main garden.)
And on a totally unrelated subject, the worms are happy. Last Thanksgiving my wife hollowed out some mini-pumpkins for candle holders. I set some aside, outside, and they froze over the winter. The other day I brought them in and defrosted them into a yucky pile and buried them in the worm bin. Worm heaven. They love anything to do with the melon family.
You’ll notice a ton of small white flecks in the bin. Gross, eh? They’re called springtails. I was pretty alarmed when they first appeared after starting the bin. They usually grow in bins where there’s too much moisture. That’s something I try to keep an eye on, but don’t stress about. I just open the lid for a while and let it dry out.
After living with springtails and reading about them, I decided they’re almost welcome. They exist peaceably with the worms and help digest all the goodies. They won’t overrun the house or eat my pets. They just take a little getting used to.