Raspberries are the hardiest of the cane berries, and perhaps the most worthwhile home garden crop for several reasons. Prices for the market fruit are high because care and labor are expensive, and market raspberries are subject to a long enough holding and handling period that fruit loses its finest flavor and may be bruised. Home garden fruit can be eaten at its peak.
The red raspberry is the most popular, but raspberries come in a variety of colors and plant forms—red, purple, yellow, and black fruits, with the red and yellow fruits growing either one or two crops on stiff canes and the purple and black fruits growing one crop on trailing canes. Because they are trailing, purples and blacks require trellising.
One-crop (single crop) raspberries produce fruit on canes that grew the previous year. Two-crop (everbearing) raspberries produce some fruit at the top of current-season canes in fall, and then produce a second crop on the rest of the cane the following year.
Raspberries are extremely hardy, so no special protection is needed except in the coldest mountain and plains climates. Where winter temperatures stay extremely low for long periods, and winds add to the chill, you should protect your plants in the following manner: Lay canes of the current season along the row or trellis, pinning portions that arch upward. Be careful not to snap them. Where mice are not likely to be a problem, cover the canes with straw or sawdust to a depth of several inches, and then cover the mulch with poultry netting to hold it in place. If winter mouse damage is probable, bury the canes under 2 inches of earth.
In spring uncover the canes before they begin to leaf out, just as the buds swell. If the buds break while still covered, they will be extremely tender to even light frost.
Unfortunately for southern gardeners, raspberries do poorly in much of the South. They need cold winters and a long, coo I spring. Everbearing plants don't like high heat.
California and Arizona gardeners are similarly unfortunate. Raspberries do not like spring and summer heat. Only the red varieties will grow and they are recommended only for coastal or mountain regions. The prime berry country on the Pacific Coast is western Washington around Puget Sound and the Willamette Valley of Oregon.
Raspberries are subject to all the same troubles as dewberries, but in the cold climates where raspberries grow-best you'll have less trouble. Any verticillium in the soil rules them out entirely, however. Because black raspberries are susceptible to virus diseases carried by red raspberries, they should be planted at least 700 feet from any reds. Virus-free stock may spare you this trouble.
If you want to enlarge a planting, it is important to know the difference between black and red raspberries. Blacks and purples arch their canes to the ground and root at the tips to form new plants. If you want more plants, leave a few canes unpruned and in late summer pin the tip to the
ground. Throw on a little soil if you like. Then dig and separate the new plant in spring.
Red raspberries send up root suckers. You can dig and replant them just before growth begins. Take a piece of root and cut back the top.
In these varieties, all fruit is borne on laterals that sprout from the year-old canes. There is one crop per season, either in late spring or early summer. 'Amber' This is a yellow-berry that is an excellent dessert fruit. Good for the North. Origin: New York. 'Boyne' This berry excels where winters are cold and summers no more than warm. The red fruit has a strong, sweet-tart flavor. The moderately vigorous plant is subject to anthracnose. Origin: Manitoba, Canada.
Red and Yellow Two-Crop Varieties
Two-crop raspberries produce a crop in fall at the end of new canes and another crop in early summer of the following year. In California the second crop may not survive the heat. In the Northwest these varieties may produce some fruit throughout the summer.
These raspberry plants are tall and stiff and bear a single crop on year-old canes. 'Amethyst' This early berry is of high quality. Good for the North. Origin: Iowa. 'Brandywine' This hybrid berry is of mixed ancestry; growth and fruit are closest to the purple types. Vigorous with 10-foot canes, it produces good crops of tart, red-purple berries especially fine for jam. Origin: New York. 'Clyde' This early berry is large, firm, dark purple, and of excellent quality. The plant is vigorous. Good for the North. Origin: New York. 'Royalty' This very vigorous purple-red hybrid similar to 'Brandywine' produces fruit that is large, sweet, good for eating fresh and for cooking and preserving. The plant is immune to the raspberry aphid, which carries a debilitating virus disease. Origin: New York.
'Sodus' This midseason berry is large, firm, and of good quality but tart. The plants are productive. Good for the North. Origin: New York.
Black (Blackcap) Varieties
Gardeners in the South and West should be aware that black raspberries are least able to tolerate mild climates. They need cold and do poorly in western Washington, although they are planted in the Willamette Valley and elsewhere in Oregon. They bear a single crop on year-old canes. 'Allen' This variety produces large, attractive berries on a vigorous and productive plant. Good for the North. Origin: New York. 'Black Hawk' This late variety bears large berries of good flavor and yield. Good for the North. Widely available. Origin: Iowa.
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