Around the Yard

Things to do this week:

* Prune berries. The vining canes on Ollalie, Boysen and other Western types of blackberry produce fruit only after two years of growth. Those particular canes then will not yield berries again. So, as soon as the last plump, sweet berry is picked, cut the canes to the ground. Once all the old canes have been pruned off, fasten the remaining canes that haven't fruited yet onto a fence or trellis. Next year, they will produce.

Left to their own devices, blackberries naturally turn into a bramble. New canes will sprout all over the garden. Get rid of the thorniest, or those that are totally in the wrong place, by digging them out.

Raspberries aren't as unruly (nor do they produce as much), and many produce a crop in the fall, so don't prune them yet. In the fall, prune out those canes that have fruited. Be careful, however: Some kinds have their first crop in the fall and their second the following spring, so pay attention to how yours are behaving.

* Protect fruit. About three weeks before you expect clusters of fruit on trees to ripen, cover them or the entire tree with nylon bird netting. Hanging pieces of red and shiny silver tape in the branches is the next best defense, or if you have enough, try dangling some of those shiny CD-ROMs that come free in the mail. The netting and sparkling tape are available at nurseries or at Peaceful Valley Farm Supply in Grass Valley, Calif.

http://www.groworganic.com.

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