Fresh raspberries are a delectable summertime garden treat. They are delicious in jams, cakes, custards, crepes, and many other mouth-watering culinary delights. Growing your own garden-fresh raspberries is enjoyable as well as economical.
Raspberries are cultivated for their delicious sweet fruits. They are eaten fresh or can be frozen for later use. They are also used to make jam, jelly, desserts, and even wine. The raspberry plant has medicinal uses as well. The fruits, which are typically a deep red color, can also be dark purple or white, contain vitamin C and other antioxidants. Tea made from the leaves is good for digestion, and when applied to the skin, is an astringent.
Raspberries (Rubus sp.) are a part of the rose family. Its white flowers look very similar to the flowers of other fruit bearing members of the rose family such apple, peach, or pear. Raspberries are an herbaceous to woody biennial plant. Every two years the canes (similar to stems) die back after having completed the reproductive cycle of flowering and fruiting. The roots and crowns are perennial and send up new shoots in the spring and to begin the cycle again.
There are two types of raspberries, ever bearing, which produce berries twice a year in June and late August to mid September, and those that bear fruit once a year, usually in mid-summer. When choosing raspberry plants for your garden, pick a variety that will flourish in your climate. For example, if you have short summers or long cool ones, choose plants that will bear fruit under those conditions.
To get the best out of your raspberry plant, first you need to select an ideal location suitable for growing raspberries. The land that you select for growing raspberries should be rich in organic compounds and sandy in nature. It should also be an area where the plants will get plenty of sun light. A well drained soil also is an essential requirement to grow raspberries the way you like them to be. It is always better to avoid low areas to plant raspberries in order to avoid water clogging inside the plantation during spring. But it should be a place where you have easy access for water supply. Do not attempt to plant raspberries on the crest of a hill. This is to avoid plants from being affected by the wind. You should also avoid sites where you have planted potatoes, egg plants and tomatoes within the last three to four years to avoid the plants from getting infected from the virus that are common in these plants.
Depending on the condition of the land it may take one to two years to complete soil preparation for growing raspberries. It is always good to test the soil quality to see whether the land is adaptable for raspberry plantation or not. Normally raspberries require soil with a pH level of 5.6 to 6.2. The acidity of the soil should be reduced by adding ground lime stone. If you want o improve the organic content of the soil you can apply materials like barnyard manure or compost into the land.
Make sure that the site that you have selected to plant the raspberry is free from weeds and other infectious matters. It should have good sun light, air and adequate moisture. It should be planted early in the spring to get the best out of your plantation. You should prune the cans properly at the time of planting. It has to be pruned within six inches from the ground level. The individual plants of raspberries should be placed at a distance of twenty four to thirty inches from each plant. The rows where the plants are planted should be kept at a distance of six to ten feet from each other.
Raspberry plants require regular watering to allow them to grow healthy. Take necessary steps to keep weeds out of the garden during the first year of plantation. Mulching with straws or sawdust will help to keep down the weed growth inside the cultivation.
Blach Hawk (left), Brandywine (right)
Varieties of raspberries
There are many varieties of raspberries to consider growing. Black Hawk is a summer-bearing, late-season raspberry. This delicious variety produces average to large sized black fruits. Black Hawk is a hardy cultivar and a prolific bearer of fruit.
Brandywine is a good cultivar for homemade jam and jelly. This tart, purple variety produces an abundance of large, purple-red raspberries. Brandywine is a late-season raspberry that outgrows most black varieties.
Latham is a summer-bearing, mid-season red variety that withstands cooler temperatures. It produces a moderate size crop of small raspberries. Latham raspberries are beautifully colored and quite delicious.
Fall Gold raspberry
Liberty is a summer-bearing, mid-season red raspberry. It produces fruits that are of average size. This cultivar is very productive, and the abundance of raspberries it produces freeze will for later use.
Royalty is a late, summer-bearing purple raspberry. This prolific grower produces sweet, tasty berries that are big and full of flavor. They are especially tasty fresh from the vine.
Redwing is an ever-bearing, mid-season red cultivar. This variety produces large fruits that are tender and rich with flavor. Redwing is considered a moderate producer.
Heritage is an ever-bearing, late-season red raspberry. This variety produces abundant crops of average size, firm raspberries. This raspberry has a rich red color, and it freezes well for later use.
Fall Gold is an ever-bearing, early yellow raspberry. This tasty variety produces moderately-sized crops of average sized, tender fruits. The flavor of Fall Gold is superb.
Purple and black raspberry plants should be pruned after all of the berries have been picked. The fruit producing canes can be encouraged to branch out by snipping them off approximately three to four inches from the top down.
Yellow and red summer-bearing varieties need to have the fruit bearing stems cut off at ground level. This should be done when all of the summer berries have been picked. If a large autumn crop is desired, do not prune during the summer. When spring arrives, the raspberry canes should be mowed down to ground level.