Raspberries Take Over the World

Today’s guest post comes from Edith.

A few years ago, VS had a guest blog post  on her wildly successful straw bale garden. I was inspired by that to try my hand at growing a few vegetables in straw bales this summer.

I have tried growing vegetables before, but have been defeated by monster weeds and various city woes. The book about straw bale gardening that I read assured me that all my previous problems would be nonexistent with straw bale gardening and I would be overwhelmed with a huge vegetable harvest.

In one respect the book was correct. All my previous problems were nonexistent but I ended up with some different problems instead. I had chosen what I thought was a good spot for the bales: a wide strip of land bordered by a fence on one side and the raspberry patch on the other side. From my experience with raspberries, I was pretty sure that the canes would not spread as far as the straw bales until next year and that this was a good way to use what would otherwise be a weed patch, not only keeping the weeds down until the raspberries took over that spot next year, but also providing me with homegrown veggies. I followed the directions for prepping the bales and everything looked like it would work just like the book said it would. I planted some seeds and a few plants and started waiting for the harvest.

Well, the raspberries took one look at the straw bales and declared war. While they don’t seem to have moved much at all in the other direction, they have grown up right next to the straw bales, and hard rains have beaten them down until they are falling down every which way. The straw bales, aided by the heavy rains, took one look at the raspberries and literally fell apart. The seeds I planted did not germinate very well and the plants are growing sideways because what was the top of the bale is now the side. Lovely. I think I’ll just stick to berries and herbs next year.
When have your grandiose plans crashed down around you?

74 thoughts on “Raspberries Take Over the World”

  1. Yay! I’m back at work!

    Most of my woodworking projects start out as Grandiose plans and end up covered with masking tape and wood putty.

    Strawbale gardens can be finicky and I’m not sure why.
    Three years ago I took 75 bales to a church that grows a large garden and distributes to Channel 1 (a local food shelf).
    The next year rodents got into the bales and ate all the root crops.
    This year a different person ran the garden and didn’t take any bales.

    This is my third year on straw bales.
    I always get lots of potatoes. String bean crop was abundant this year but I always have trouble with cucumbers in the straw bales. This year I did 2 seperate bales away from the rest, for pumpkins and cucumbers. That helped with vine control.

    Carrots were good, onions got over-shadowed by other things.
    My biggest problem is over crowding things in the first place. Or the potato vines take over everything else.
    And I always think I’m leaving enough room to mow around it and I never do.
    I put landscaping fabric down this year. but that still only gave me 2′ and then the fence outside that and it’s just a mess down there… Haven for rabbits. And the dog that chases them.

    Too work!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Ha ha – I have the same mowing problem. Last year I measured the lawnmower to make sure I had room between the bales, but didn’t think about AROUND the bales. This year I put them up near the house, but now can’t even get back there!


  2. Rise and Accept Life as it Really is Baboons!

    Let’s see, there was the perfect marriage, the perfect family, the perfect house, the slender figure, all plans gone awry. Then there are the blog posts sitting unfinished on my laptop. Those of course will be the best blog posts EVER.

    The garden worked out OK, though! And despite all the other grandiose plans gone awry, life is still good. The second marriage works, the imperfect children are all lovable, the job I wrangled out of thin air has been a wonder and something I never thought I would do, and yet, there it is.

    When I was born the expectation was that I would be an Iowa farm wife. That was the expectation of parents and grandparents because that was the life they knew. I sit here in a suburb of Minneapolis…

    The mystery of life, yadayadayada.

    Liked by 6 people

  3. When I was about 13 or so I tried to bake a birthday cake for my mother. I think the cake came out okay but I had trouble getting the layers out of the pans intact, so I tried to stick the pieces together with icing. Baking the cake itself was not such a grandiose thing, since I had done some baking before, but I had a grand plan to decorate it by spelling out HAPPY BIRTHDAY using some cake decor dots I had bought. I made a powdered sugar icing and soon realized that the dots were going to be too big to fit a legible HAPPY BIRTHDAY on the available space, so I had to scrape some off and mix more icing and switch to H B MAMA, which was pretty inelegant. I think the cake had baked a little unevenly, too, so that one side was a little higher than the other, and the powdered sugar icing I made was not thick enough to hide its flaws. I was rather embarrassed by it, but fortunately I was at an age at which nothing much was expected of me, and I think my mother was pleased. It was edible.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. I wish I could see a picture of that cake.

      Of course, I haven’t outgrown making cakes like that yet. In my family, it’s not about how it looks, but it’s all about how it TASTES.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. When I was in Sweden visiting relatives, they fed me a Princess Cake. It was heaven. So for our Johnson reunion that fall I decided to make one myself. Three layers of cake interspersed with custard and raspberry jam and whipped cream, topped with green marzipan. The custard and whipped cream layers slipped and slopped over the sides, the marzipan wasn’t thin enough to easily slice through. It was a green blob. But tasted good. Haven’t tried it again. What is the secret to holding it together? I think perhaps refrigeration before serving. But probably will have to go back to Sweden for my Princess Cake fix.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Any time I try to make a remotely fancy dessert, it looks like a blob. Things slide apart, tilt, and slop. I usually don’t even try to make the fancy things, but succumb once in while, only to fail once again. So I stick to things like cookies, cakes with ganache or no frosting, ice cream, and fruit desserts that don’t need to hold together very well.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I stick to ice cream or fruit. Best to not try baking anything….though recently I did succeed in making a Norwegian Crown Cake (Kransekake). Hesitant to try my luck again, however.


  4. Well, we shall see how our grandiose plans for feeding the Lutherans go. We are finishing the final preparations this morning and need to be on the road to the Badlands by 1:00.

    Liked by 5 people

  5. Well, grandiose plans this week to enjoy all that our chosen resort on Gull Lake had to offer that wasn’t motorized or golf crashed and burned as the weather was rainy and chilly. Well, not entirely – we got out on a paddleboat (one of those little two-seater affairs that you peddle a little like a recumbent bike), one of the two girls (Daughter and a friend) captained a cardboard boat of our creation far enough into the lake for our team to win the regatta…of two boats…we won in part because we sunk further out…and we fed lots of greedy ducks. Swimming in the pool – that we planned for and gosh it was good we did. Oh, and we did race turtles. In the rain. Because turtles don’t mind the rain.

    Liked by 7 people

  6. Let’s see … that whole “Daddy, I want to be actress or dancer” thing was totally kaput years ago. Then after having kids, I really wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, but Jim’s chronic depression and job woes never allowed that to happen. Desperately trying network marketing MANY times to earn extra income was a bust, despite loving the fantastic products, wonderful companies and great upline. I just don’t like talking to people or even picking up the phone.

    But, it’s all OK. I have 3 wonderful children who I couldn’t have screwed up if I tried. Jim and I both have decent jobs — FINALLY. I’m almost a 2nd degree black belt, so that’s been a lot of fun and I always did well in competitions. I’m not a grandiose person, so … I guess I’m alright.

    Great looking gardens and vegetables, Edith. I have one word for all you guys messing with straw bales — EARTHBOXES!!! They are so easy, contained, stay where you put them, grow almost anything with great results, no weeding and only water as needed. I have a certified brown thumb when it comes to plants and gardening and am lazy, but even I can grow fantastic stuff in my EARTHBOXES!! ‘Nuff said.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. But the earth boxes won’t fall apart like my straw bales did. All those lovely vegetables pictured? They are all growing horizontally out of what used to be the top of the bale, but now is the side of the bale.


        1. Well, sort of. There’s not as many plants as there should be. The beans that should have been a whole bale’s worth of plants are just two plants. The squash plant died, I think, because I didn’t water enough – in my defense, I couldn’t SEE that the plants were wilting because of the jungle. And I don’t know if I can even get to some of the plants to harvest them. At least not until I get that machete.


    1. Hay- stop cutting into my straw bale market!

      Besides, the chickens enjoy digging through the straw bales in the fall after the bales have fallen apart and I’ve collected everything.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Ah – the dashed dreams of youth! There’ve been so many great ideas over the years, each one requiring a skill set that I sorely lack: marketing. One was to be a personalized obit writer. Using my therapeutic skills, I’d have a session with the family to gather the essence of the one who died. Then, I’d craft a highly-individualized humorous, touching, candid obit. I thought it was a great idea to combine my writing skills with therapeutic skills. I even made a bunch of “mock ups” to show people. I got a bit carried away, though.

      Every obit of a person who dies from cancer reads, “John died after a courageous battle with cancer”. Time after time. It occurred to me that there are plenty of Johns who went out kicking and screaming and who were intolerable to live with on the cancer journey. Cancer and courage don’t always have a relationship.

      Or, a nasty person in life could have an obit starting with, “We all know that John was an asshole”. If it’s a suicide, an authentic obit would state that the family’s feeling shock, anger, and confusion about why this happened. An obit might include the deceased’s greatest successes and failures and his/her own unique wisdoms. “John always wanted to be a pilot not a plumber. In a way he was a pilot: ours”.

      It may seem a bit morbid, but years ago, I wrote my own and gave a copy of it to my brother. I hope he lost it, because it’s about time for a second edition! Perhaps writing one’s own preferred obit is a good way to synthesize and summarize a life not finished yet?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’ve lately been more than a little disappointed by the obits of some seniors I’ve known. Basically a list of their survivors, nothing about them or their life. Seems so dismissive.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’ve come to expect that, mig. One of my hobbies is visualizing the lives of people I meet, visualizing them as their lives would look if they were novels, that is. I know for a fact that many “ordinary” people lead remarkable lives, almost always without anyone else noticing the drama they’ve survived. More surprising to me is that the children of some people don’t have a clue about the inner lives of their parents. For example, one of the women I dated after my divorce had a stunning tale to tell about the abuse she suffered in her marriage. Her two girls didn’t have a clue about that, and she couldn’t see that it would do any good to tell them. One reason I find it so endlessly interesting to get to know people is that huge gap between they way a person is “known” to others and what their inner life has actually been.

          Liked by 3 people

        2. The worst one I have seen so far is of a high school classmate.

          Name, age, died of natural causes in his home in St. Peter.

          No service will be held at his request.


        3. Steve, I think you are pribably being very charitable. Surely most children realize their parents had a life that mattered beyond being their progenitors. Their mother had a maiden name and their father had an occupation. Old though they may have been, these people had parents themselves.

          I’ve hotten some pretty decent genealogical research out of old obits, whereas I have read some for people I knew well who I would not recognized based on what their heirs wrote.

          I rather expect it has more to do with the fact that obits are paid notices.


  7. First off, if you have noticed, if you hover over LJB’s photos, there are some funny captions.

    I may have told this story before. I wanted to be a translator at the U.N. – in high school I studied Spanish, French and Russian and added German in college. Then I saw Charade with Audrey Hepburn. The scene in which she sat in her little tiny cubicle translating about business and economics squashed that plan immediately!

    Liked by 4 people

  8. A few years back I “knew” that I could produce and write a web comedy based on the food show, Iron Chef. My concept was Stone Age Chef. The basics of the show would be a challenger, a secret ingredient, 3 three judges and the Stone Age Chef who would always lose. In some episodes the Stone Age Chef would consult cave paintings which were in reality recipes. In others the sous chefs would mess up and collect lethal (bad mushrooms) additives to the secret ingredient. In other episodes the secret ingredient would be in the “wheel house” of the challenger. For example, Santa Claus would be a challenger and the secret ingredient would be reindeer. Or a cop would be challenger and the secret ingredient would be a doughnut. In the first webisode the secret ingredient was to be woolly mammoth but the Stone Age Chef still will lose. The 3 judges would be taken from history, politics or current culture. I had one episode where Joe Biden and Sarah Palin try to influence a toddler to “vote” for the winner. In one episode the challenger is a lawyer who never actually makes anything but still wins. Shark was the secret ingredient. I went so far as to pay for StoneAgeChef.com and .org. I went into partnership with a director and producer. We held tryouts for the various roles. We began to budget costuming and set design and location. Then the big “D” happened. The now ex wife put the kibosh on the whole thing. If I ever get the necessary funds together, I’d like to try again.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. That does sound awesome! I’ve seen something about web episodes of original Star Trek-type shows that are surprisingly well-done and excellent attention to the details. It stars an actor who has always wanted to be and play Captain Kirk, and who is also the brainchild of this show. He’s totally passionate about being true to the original series and has made his “grandiose” dreams come to fruition. Quite fascinating.


  9. Love the photos, Edith! I can remember some grandiose plans that worked out in the short run – moving to San Francisco, moving to Half Moon Bay, moving to NYC. I guess my plans started to gel long-term when I teamed up with Husband. As a single person, my plans can get derailed by something that looks more fun. With another person “on board”, I tend to stick with things longer (have now lived here 26 years!) Of course, there have been a couple of short term businesses…


  10. I have no stories about grandiose plans gone awry, but only because experience has taught me that “grandiose” and “Steve” don’t belong in the same sentence. I know better than to make grandiose plans. But I have no shortage of ordinary plans that died.

    One was my plan to become a wedding photographer. Friends were doing well with a wedding photography business. Pat and Margie generously allowed me to shoot pictures with them at six of their weddings so I could learn the trade.

    It was a fascinating business. Weddings are fascinating events, although I struggled to hide the fact I don’t like weddings. I quickly learned how difficult it is to shoot a wedding. To my shock, I was surprisingly good at wedding photography. To my dismay, I learned that I’d never make money doing this for reasons unrelated to photography. I was too old to learn orderly business habits, promotion, and many other dark arts of being a good businessman.

    In the end, I shot one wedding professionally. It was in Portland. I found the experience enormously stressful, although the pictures were good. My profit was entirely eaten up by the airfare expenses. I proved I can do the work of wedding photography without making money at it. Earlier I had proved I could be a freelance journalist who didn’t make money, so I sense a theme here.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Wee, sleekit, cowran, tim’rous beastie,
    O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
    Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
    Wi’ bickering brattle!
    I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee,
    Wi’ murd’ring pattle!

    I’m truly sorry Man’s dominion
    Has broken Nature’s social union,
    An’ justifies that ill opinion,
    Which makes thee startle,
    At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
    An’ fellow-mortal!

    I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve;
    What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
    A daimen-icker in a thrave ‘S a sma’ request:
    I’ll get a blessin wi’ the lave,
    An’ never miss’t!

    Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!
    It’s silly wa’s the win’s are strewin!
    An’ naething, now, to big a new ane,
    O’ foggage green!
    An’ bleak December’s winds ensuin,
    Baith snell an’ keen!

    Thou saw the fields laid bare an’ wast,
    An’ weary Winter comin fast,
    An’ cozie here, beneath the blast,
    Thou thought to dwell,
    Till crash! the cruel coulter past
    Out thro’ thy cell.

    That wee-bit heap o’ leaves an’ stibble,
    Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
    Now thou’s turn’d out, for a’ thy trouble,
    But house or hald.
    To thole the Winter’s sleety dribble,
    An’ cranreuch cauld!

    But Mousie, thou are no thy-lane,
    In proving foresight may be vain:
    The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men,
    Gang aft agley,
    An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
    For promis’d joy!

    Still, thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me!
    The present only toucheth thee:
    But Och! I backward cast my e’e,
    On prospects drear!
    An’ forward, tho’ I canna see,
    I guess an’ fear!

    Liked by 8 people

  12. Good morning. I suppose the plan I once had to “blow up my TV and move to the country” is a big plan that never happened. Oh well, I am not too unhappy living in Minneapolis with a large backyard to use for gardening.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I had planned, after all our company and events over three weeks, to do a thorough house cleaning today. Unfortunately, those plans are coming to fruition..

    Liked by 2 people

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