The first Grow Your Own job of the year

Grow your own raspberries 80 Minute Allotment Green Fingered Blog
What's the first job of the year in the allotment? I've only got about 80 minutes per week to grow my own fruit and vegetables, so it's important to get my priorities straight... 

The allotment or kitchen garden isn't always the most inviting place in early January here in South Wales. It can be cold, wet and muddy, but I'd still rather be outside in the fresh air if I can. 

It's too early to be planting anything but there is a bit of tidying up and reorganising to do. I'm also gradually preparing things for later in the year. More of that another time.

Many people are planning what they're going to grow this year, and ordering seeds in readiness. I'll be following a similar plan to last year. You can see it here:

Most of my crops will be moving on one step in my four stage rotation, but the first job of the year involves raspberries, which will be staying exactly where they are.

Cut Down Autumn Fruiting Raspberries

I planted 3 autumn fruiting raspberry plants last February. 2018 was a difficult year to establish new plants but I did get several handfuls of lovely fresh raspberries from October onwards.

Grow your own raspberries 80 Minute Allotment Green Fingered Blog
So tasty they didn't make it home!

I'm hoping for quite a few more this year, and my quest starts now. Autumn raspberries are easy to prune. They can simply be cut down to the ground in winter. All this year's fruit will be carried on new canes that will appear soon and grow through the year. 

They should flower in August to September and produce fruit in September and October although last year they were held back by late snow and a June heatwave, and were still cropping in late November. 

Grow your own raspberries 80 Minute Allotment Green Fingered Blog
Cut down autumn raspberries in January
The canes in the above picture carried last year's crop. They can all be cut down now, to within a couple of inches of the ground. New ones will appear from the base of the plant this spring.

This is different to summer fruiting raspberries. Any raspberries that fruit in June or July need closer attention. Existing canes on these should be left alone now. They will grow, flower and fruit this year. Only those that fruited last summer should be removed.

But the autumn varieties can be safely cut right back to look like the ones in the title picture. Having done that, it's safe to retreat back into the warm again to dream of warmer days.
I'll be back soon to show you how the rest of The 80 Minute Allotment looks as the year gets started.

Happy gardening,

I'm growing fruit and veg in an average of 80 minutes a week on my allotment. If you've also got limited time to grow your own, then come and visit me regularly on the 80 Minute Allotment. 

Click here to Subscribe by Email and you'll get regular updates on how I use my time, in short sessions of one to two hours. I'll show you how growing your own can fit into a busy lifestyle and still produce regular harvests of fresh fruit and vegetables all year round. 

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