Ever­bear­ing rasp­ber­ries do two crops a year

Times Colonist - - Homes - HE­LEN CH­ES­NUT Gar­den Notes hch­es­nut@bc­su­per­net.com

Dear He­len: How can I tell whether the rasp­ber­ries in the gar­den of a house I bought are sum­mer-bear­ing or “ever­bear­ing”?

K.P. Sev­eral of my neigh­bours have re­cently asked me the same ques­tion. Gar­den­ers of­ten pass along rasp­berry canes to friends with­out in­form­ing them about the va­ri­ety. “Sum­mer bear­ing” rasp­ber­ries have one har­vest season, in July. The berries are borne on canes that de­vel­oped in the pre­vi­ous year. Canes that have fin­ished pro­duc­ing berries are cut down to al­low the new canes that will bear the next year’s crop to ma­ture well. Crowded canes are thinned out.

Ever­bear­ing rasp­ber­ries give an early sum­mer crop and another in late sum­mer to early au­tumn. They will have wound up their first har­vest­ing pe­riod now, and will have be­gun de­vel­op­ing flower buds at the tips of this year’s new canes for the second crop.

That’s how you can iden­tify the two-crop “ever-bear­ers.” Flower buds be­gin de­vel­op­ing on the new canes in late July and early Au­gust.

Man­ag­ing ever-bear­ers: Cut down the old, brown­ing canes that pro­duced the early sum­mer berries. When the late-season crop on the new canes has been har­vested, cut those canes back to just be­low the tops that pro­duced berries. Next year’s early rasp­ber­ries will be pro­duced on the cane por­tions be­low where you have cut.

Many peo­ple sim­ply cut down all the ever­bear­ing canes at win­ter’s end. That elim­i­nates the early sum­mer berries. New canes that grow in the spring will give only the one, late-season crop.

I don’t do that be­cause I prize the early sum­mer berries and the late-season crop of­ten co­in­cides with early au­tumn rains that turn the berries mouldy.

Dear He­len: I would like to try grow­ing win­ter veg­eta­bles this year. I’m not sure what I can start from seed or trans­plants at this time. Are trans­plants widely avail­able?


You will find some win­ter veg­etable trans­plants at most gar­den cen­tres. They usu­ally be­gin ar­riv­ing in late July or early Au­gust. A few phone calls to your favourite local out­lets should un­earth sources.

You will find trans­plants of cold-hardy let­tuces, kale, win­ter cab­bage, and over-win­ter­ing cau­li­flower and sprout­ing broc­coli. Seeds can be planted out­doors now of spinach, win­ter let­tuces, arugula, mizuna (a spicy Asian green with feath­ery leaves) and corn salad.

Dear He­len: This is go­ing to seem crazy, but as I was dig­ging over a pre­vi­ously un­cul­ti­vated patch of ground last month, I heard a dis­tinct hiss­ing sound com­ing from the soil. A bit of pok­ing around un­earthed a large bee­tle with lines on its back. More hiss­ing em­anated from the bee­tle. Have you ever heard of anything like this?

A.D. Over the years, I have dug up many bee­tles sim­i­lar to the one you de­scribe, in vary­ing stages of their ma­tu­rity. The crea­ture is a ten­lined June bee­tle. The adult bee­tles usu­ally emerge from the soil in June to mate and lay eggs. The cold weather de­layed most of the emer­gence un­til July this year. Not long ago I dug up sev­eral that were just on the verge of tak­ing flight — the pre­cise stage at which they seem to make that odd bel­lows-like wheez­ing sound when dis­turbed.

Favoured egg-lay­ing places are in the roots of grasses. The eggs hatch to pro­duce plump, C-shaped lar­vae that live in the soil for three to four years be­fore reach­ing the adult stage. They are found in the greatest num­bers where lawns and grassy fields have been dug up to plant gardens. Then, they can cause some dam­age to plant roots and potato tu­bers.

I watch for the whitish, curved grubs and re­move them as I dig plots. Turn­ing over the soil a few times be­fore plant­ing helps to ex­pose lar­vae that you miss to birds and other preda­tors.

Dear He­len: Why does the fragrance in some flowers seem to turn on and off? Ex­am­ples are roses, sweet vi­o­lets, daphnes and petu­nias that are pow­er­fully scented only at cer­tain times over the bloom season.


Fragrance will vary with the weather, the age of the blooms and the time of day. I of­ten sniff-test the petu­nias on my pa­tio. I grow the most fra­grant ones I know of, and place them by the screened pa­tio door that I open on sum­mer morn­ings and evenings. They are at their most fra­grant in warmth, and the fully opened flowers are more per­fumed that newly opened and fad­ing ones.


Left, blue Storm, a fra­grant pe­tu­nia, is ideal for grow­ing on decks, bal­conies and pa­tios, where the scent can be most ap­pre­ci­ated. Right, Ten­lined June bee­tles de­velop from C-shaped grubs that live in the soil for three to four years be­fore reach­ing the adult bee­tle stage.

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