The raspberries, being thorny, are my living fence against two- and four-legged critters on the sidewalk. So any fruit I get from them is a bonus.

Last fall, I mistreated at least half of them pretty badly; my understanding is that you should cut back only those raspberry canes that bear. But I was in a rush, so I cut back everything. (Also, I got a lot of fruit, but the Japanese beetles fouled most of it before I could eat it).

This spring, for whatever reason, the raspberries seem to be thriving, invading everywhere. That straw is from last year’s sheet mulch, plus some compost from this year, and “green compost” from a nearby path of (not quack) grass, clipped with garden shears (and not a mover).

I gave them some azomite on the forlorn theory that it would make their stems and leaves prickly, and so less likely to be eaten. The theory I really like is chitinase as a soil amendment or a foliar spray; I like the picture of their little chitin mandibles dissolving after they chew on my plants. Rumor has it that mussel shells contain chitinase — but then so do bananas!

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