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Aug 162011

If you can grow apples you can grow raspberries, and why wouldn’t you? The sweet juicy fruit is delectable when picked ripe and warm from the canes, truly placing the taste of the sun on your tongue. Nutritionally dense and a fantastic snack for kids, raspberries require a small amount of preparation and ongoing care which will yield great results.

Canes are available in nurseries in winter as bare-rooted stock.
When you plant your raspberries prune them to about 20cm from ground level.

Berries are a long-term crop and it is worth preparing the soil well and removing all weeds before planting. Add plenty of well-rotted manure and compost in order to create a rich, well-drained, slightly acidic soil. If you have a heavy clay soil, build the beds up or add gypsum prior to planting. Remember: damp in summer, dry in winter. Mulch berries well to keep roots cool and moist, and to suppress weeds.

Plant your raspberries in a northerly to north-easterly aspect and avoid planting them in an area where you have grown tomatoes, capsicum and eggplants in the past three years to avoid the risk of Verticillium wilt.

Raspberries are gross feeders,  feed with blood and bone or well-rotted manure in spring and autumn.

Pruning and training
Raspberry varieties fall into two categories: summer and autumn fruiting.

Summer fruiting varieties will fruit on two year old canes. The two year old canes are called floricanes and the new season canes are called primocanes.

Each year remove the floricanes that produced fruit and tie up the new season’s primocanes to a wire trellis. Tying the canes up in bundles can make them easier to manage.
The smaller autumn harvest will be produced on the tips of the primocanes and these can be trimmed to just below the fruit after harvest. The trellis may consist of two or three wires positioned about 50cm apart, strung securely between two sturdy posts.

Autumn fruiting raspberries can simply be cut back to ground level and the new spring canes tied up as they grow. Autumn fruiting raspberry bearing fruit on primocane – one year old canes.

Below are some great home garden varieties. All raspberries are self-pollinating.

Raspberry -Chilcotin
Mid Season: summer for 4-5 weeks with a small late autumn crop. Fruits on floricanes. Cut down once fruiting has finished. Autumn crop appears on tops of primocanes – prune tips back after fruiting has finished.
Heavy cropper, excellent fruit size and quality but can be crumbly at times. Good disease resistance. Good for fresh fruit, jam and cooking, retains colour and gloss in storage.
Canes need to be thinned during growing season.

Raspberry -Chilliwack
Mid season: fruit produced in summer on floricanes for 4 to 5 weeks followed by a small late autumn crop on tips of primocanes. Good disease resistance. Canes need thinning during the growing season.
Excellent fruit size and quality but may be crumbly at times. Used for fresh fruit, jam and cooking. Berries retain gloss and colour when preserved.
Low chill requirements.

Raspberry – Heritage Everbearing
Large good flavoured berries which have a moderate summer crop on floricanes and a heavier autumn crop on primocanes. If want two crops do not prune primocanes. If just want the heavier second crop, cut all canes down.
The canes can be planted closer than most varieties – around 40cm apart with 2 to 3 canes together.  Prune down to the ground  when first planted.  Allow to grow to around 65cm in height and then cut off at that level to encourage branching and thus more fruiting laterals.  Deep weekly watering is required from late January to the end of March.

Raspberry – Heritage
Bears March to April on Primocanes.
Medium red firm berries, good aromatic flavour, excellent quality.
A low chill cultivar. Thorny canes.
Use for fresh fruit, jam and cooking.

Raspberry – Neika
Early season: harvest November to December. Fruits on floricanes.
Delicate soft fruit with a sweet taste.

Raspberry – Nootka
Summer fruiting: Late November to early January. Bears on floricanes.
Large, bright red, firm fruit, good flavour.
Heavy crops. Good disease resistance.
Fresh fruit, jam and cooking.

Raspberry – Sandford
Sandford is one of the earliest raspberries to harvest, so if you want to grow your own berries for Christmas this is the one for you. Flowering in November with fruit ready to pick in early December. Fruits on floricanes.
The fruit is best used fresh, still warm from the heat of the sun, with cream.  If it is intended to store the fruit for several days, pick the fruit preferably when it is dry, and put it in the fridge in an open container, as soon as possible.

Raspberry –Skeena
Early season: summer for four weeks. Fruit on floricanes
Medium-sized, bright, glossy, red conical berries, excellent flavour.
Thornless, low chill cultivar with medium-high yield.
Fresh fruit, jam and cooking, retains colour and gloss in storage.

Raspberry – Tulameen
Summer fruiting variety that produces consistently large and good flavoured fruits. Tulameen produces very attractive, bright, glossy fruit with a distinctive conical shape and excellent flavour. The berries keep their shape well when picked and have excellent keeping qualities. Fruits are large at around 5 – 7 grams each and size is maintained throughout the picking season.
The canes are tall (up to 6ft) with few spines and easy to manage. One important thing to note is this variety can be very late to emerge in Spring and the variety has good Winter hardiness.
Remember – raspberries hate wet feet and are gross feeders – so ensure you fertilise heavily and have good drainage – damp in summer – dry in winter.
Tulameen is a floricane – produces fruit on second year wood.

Raspberry – Willamette
Summer fruiting: Late November to early January. Bears on Floricanes.
Large berry easily detached, good flavour. Hardy with some virus resistance.
Fresh or frozen fruit and cooking, excellent for jam, dense and not seedy. Stores well.