Thursday, April 17, 2008

Raspberries and Asparagus Rows Planted

I can finally relax! The 30 raspberry bushes and 25 asparagus plants are in the ground. I still have three rhubarbs in the crisper waiting to go out, but that’s gravy. The bulk of the work has been done.

My shipment from Nourse Farms arrives on the same day as my smaller shipment from American Meadows. The difference between the two was telling. The Nourse Farms plants were sorted and bagged professionally: five raspberry canes to a bag, sealed thoroughly, tied neatly, labeled with a printed tag, and with moist shredded paper packed around the roots. The box had spent the day in the sun, but nothing dried out entirely – even the asparagus, which was packaged in a damp paper bag.

By contrast, half of the American Meadows shipment arrived dead. The mountain laurel and one other plant were shipped leafed-out, in unsealed baggies too small to be zipped. Both contained what must have been a damp paper towel. Both paper towels were dry, and the foliage of both plants was so dry that it crumbled in my hand. I don’t believe green leaves can reach that state of desiccation in one afternoon, even cooking in a box without water.

There is still some hope for the three bittersweet vines in that shipment, since they were shipped dormant; and the trilliums were small enough to be shipped in a sealed baggie, so I have high hopes for those. I have asked American Meadows to replace the two crispy plants or refund my money, but perhaps I just should have expected less from a company that sells plants for $2.50 a piece.

Anyway, even the deadest of the plants is in the ground, in the vane hope that they will revive.

Here are five of the raspberry canes. And the whole row in the new raised bed:

To my regret, I realized this afternoon that raspberries put up new shoots from their roots, which means these cute little sticks are likely to spread to my neighbor’s side of the fence. I need to ask my neigbors if they would like me to insert a root barrier to prevent that, which I dread having to do. With any luck they’ll prefer the idea of free raspberry bushes. I’ve got my fingers crossed.

And here are the asparagus babies lined up and ready for planting. They look like squid. I wonder how long it will take before they put up their first spears?

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