The backdrop to my window view is largely a mix of towering cedar and birch trees, with the bunkie off to the left and the vegetable garden off to the far right. Front and centre is a lovely mature raspberry bush.
Despite looking a bit bedraggled, we were still treated to some delicious berries last year. I wasn't sure what to expect this year as raspberries are biennial but I pruned the canes back in the spring, put down some more straw to keep down the weeds and hoped for the best.
After last year's raspberry escapade, the kids were pretty excited to finally go picking -- but they had a hard time finding more than a tiny handful of dark berries.
With spring coming three weeks early this year, I noticed fruit forming earlier than last year. Unfortunately, this coincided with the early arrival of my nemesis -- the Japanese Beetle, which decimated my roses, peonies and has been seen buzzing around my vegetable garden.
Looks like these beasties found the raspberries too. Can you see the skeletonized leaf? Nasty.
I'm not sure if the beetles are the only reason for our slim pickings this year. Perhaps the canes are too old or maybe the soil needs some TLC. There are still some immature berries on the bush that'll make a nice topping for some homemade yogurt but that's about it.
But this paltry harvest helped reinforce the connection between the growing of food and what shows up on your plate. It was like a mini lesson in crop failure without the hardship and empty bellies. It taught the kids to appreciate what they did pick and not take it for granted.
Together, we're going to do some research so we can figure out how to increase our yield for next year -- but only after we visit the strawberry farm again to get our fill of berries.