Raspberries and Blackberries At Home

As “we” gardeners continue to appreciate the joy of harvesting our own food, berries have become more popular than ever. Berries grown at home have unbeatable flavor and they require very little work.

Raspberries are among the best small fruits for home gardens. There are many varieties that are proven performers in our area. Here are some of our favorites:

‘Autumn Britten’ – This is a fall bearing raspberry that produces a bounty of flavorful and large bright red fruit that is consistently ranked among the best tasting berries available.

‘Fall Gold’ – Very sweet yellow berries are large juicy and firm. This one is sometimes called ‘ever-bearing’ because it produces a crop in late spring and another in fall.

‘Heritage’ – This is another ‘ever-bearing’ or ‘two crop’ variety with very firm red, medium-sized and tasty fruit with good texture.

We like blackberries too. Although they are slightly less cold-hardy we have had great success with a few, including:

‘Black Satin’ – Thornless variety yielding honey sweet medium to large berries in mid to late summer. This variety is very vigorous and disease-resistant.

‘Chester’ – Sweet, high-quality fruit is produced on thornless canes over a long season. This one is very cold-hardy.

‘Darrow’ – This is a reliable producer of attractive, firm, juicy and sweet berries that are great eaten fresh or made into jams and jellies.

So how do you grow raspberries and blackberries? Both raspberries and blackberries like sun, fertile and evenly moist soil along with proper fertilization. We always amend the soil at planting time with Dr. Earth Fruit planting mix (in the blue bag). When it is time to feed, right around bloom time and again in early fall after plants have finished fruiting, we recommend Dr. Earth Organic 9 Fruit fertilizer.

Some pruning will be required but don’t worry it’s not complicated. Varieties that only bear one crop per season will fruit on canes that are two years old. That means that canes that emerge in the current season should be left alone so they will yield fruit the next season. Any canes that bear fruit will slowly begin to die back and should be removed as close to the ground as possible without damaging emerging new canes.

Pruning ever-bearing (two-crop) varieties is a little different. These plants will bear a late summer crop on new wood and, if you leave these canes alone, will bear fruit the following spring on the portions of those canes that did not fruit the previous season. Two year old canes will begin to die back after fruiting and should be removed to ground level as with single crop varieties.

Some growers in really cold areas prefer to treat ever-bearing varieties as fall-bearing by cutting all canes low to the ground each winter. This prevents the plants from fruiting the following spring and instead allows for a fall crop only.

Berries are very forgiving of mistakes so don’t worry about doing everything perfect. They want to grow and will reward a little effort with bountiful crops of the best berries you’ve ever tasted.

We will help you get started and will happily answer questions about the best varieties, planting, pruning…everything you want to know about berries. Plants begin arriving in spring and we will have them in stock at all three stores. Come see us!

This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 20th, 2013 at 10:43 pm and is filed under Children and Gardening, Gardening, Gardening with Gail, Pruning. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.