Timing is key: Planting garlic amid changing weather patterns

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Q. I’ve usually planted garlic by now, but I’m concerned about changing weather patterns and planting at the best possible time.

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A. Your hesitation is understandable, in light of last October’s warm, dry weather that was not good for planting garlic.

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This year is different. Temperatures have cooled and rainfall has begun. As soon as the soil has become thoroughly moist and cool, it is time to plant. If you have a soil thermometer, watch for soil temperatures not rising above 10 C.

Q. The second, late summer crop on my “everbearing” raspberries was plentiful this year, but I cannot remember how the canes on these raspberries should be handled. Do I just cut all the canes down?

A. You can do that, but then next year’s new canes will produce only the late crop. Many people, for simplicity, cut down all the canes at winter’s end and forgo the early, July raspberries. I don’t do that, because I prize the early summer berries and the late season crop tends to turn mouldy in early autumn rains.

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Many gardeners remain confused about pruning “everbearing” (two-crop) raspberries. Here’s how to prune to retain both crops:

You will notice that the late crop is borne along the tips of canes produced in the current year. When that crop is over, those upper cane sections are cut away and the rest of the cane length is left to bear the following year’s early summer crop of berries. When that early harvest is finished, those canes are cut down at ground level, leaving new canes to grow and produce the late crop.

Once you get into the routine of cutting away the dried upper cane portions after the late crop and cutting down those same canes after they give the next year’s early crop, managing the planting is fairly simple.

Keep raspberry canes thinned enough to allow free air circulation and optimum sunlight penetration in the planting.

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