Raspberries

Posted on Jan 1, 2013 in Botany, Plant This | Comments Off

There is just nothing better than fresh raspberries out of the garden, and they are ridiculously easy to grow. If you don’t have any in the ground yet, this is the year. Give them rich soil with plenty of compost, and stand back. They do need a little water year-round, and they prefer the cool summers that we have on the coast here in northern California. There are easier to handle if you put up a simple trellis such as a post at either end of the row with sturdy wire strung between it. (Warning: if there are Himalayan blackberries growing in the area where you want to plant your raspberries, dig them out or find another location. Keeping the two separate will drive you crazy.)

Now, there’s one trick with raspberries that you need understand before you go shopping. Raspberries are broadly divided into two categories: summer-bearing and everbearing. The summer-bearing varieties produce more fruit, but over a shorter season. The ever-bearing varieties will give you less fruit, but you’ll be harvesting from June through September. Regardless of the variety you choose, you’ll need to do one pruning job during the winter. Just cut down the canes which have already fruited, which will be fairly obvious because there will be bits of dried stems and flowers where the raspberries once were. Just cut those down to the ground, but leave the young, green canes alone.

And by the way, the people at Fall Creek also have a container-sized raspberry plant called ‘Raspberry Shortcake.’ You can grow a regular raspberry plant in a large container (like a wine barrel) as well, but plan to use stakes or trellises to keep the canes confined. Try ‘Heritage,’ which grows 6-7 feet tall and stays pretty upright.