Doing the groundwork
Although I’m not much of a gardener, I do put a bit of work into my raspberries and winter is a good time to weed the beds. (You’re also supposed to prune the canes but I only cut back the ones that are growing over the paths and I’m really not convinced that they do better than the ones I let go.)
Leaving the ground bare at this time of year seems to give the new plants the best chance to spring up. Then, once the growing season is underway in spring and I can see the new seedlings, I mulch everything. I also keep the canes well-watered once they start bearing fruit and that’s about it: kilograms of fabulous fruit on an outlay of a bit of weeding, a bit of mulching and a bit of watering. Definitely worth the effort.
If you’re planning a Christmas berry crop, get your groundwork in soon.
Christmas Day 1970: When the last present was unwrapped, Wendy gathered up all of the ribbons and tied them round her pigtails. Then Peter started diving into the wrapping pile saying that he was Scrooge McDuck in his money bin until Uncle Geoff collared the oldest boys and told them to take all of the paper out to the woodshed. I carried my Famous Five book to the banana lounge on the veranda and cracked open the first chapter. Bliss. Enid Blyton should have been canonised.
 But don’t take gardening advice from me: my prettiest flowers are all weeds.
 And a fair bit of picking. But I’ve usually been able to get my kids to help with that if I don’t expect too many berries to end up in their buckets.
 My lawyer brother Matthew told me how many kilograms of frozen berries he could buy with an hour’s salary but that’s not relevant because I do my berry work out of hours when I wouldn’t be doing paid work anyway. Michael should really ask himself how many kilograms of frozen berries he could buy with what he’s paid for an hour of binge-watching television shows (which is a negative figure, because he pays for a gym subscription to undo the effects of the television).