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The world of raspberries

February 4, 2010
By Stephanie Bethke-DeJaeghere

It was about four years ago when we decided that one of the Masters of the Garden needed his own particular fruit garden.

He is not a picky eater but likes to be called a "selective" eater. His fruit of choice, especially when they are fresh, is raspberries. So, with a little help from a close-by neighbor who gave us a few raspberry canes and an order in for Latham Raspberries, four years later we are able to make jam and have both fresh and frozen raspberries throughout the year.

Why the Latham variety? It was a red raspberry and it also scored an "excellent" on the U of M chart for best possible cultivars. We had a protected area to plant them so since Latham is a floricane (second year cane) fruiting cultivar, this would also work for us.

If we had to choose a place that was not protected, we would have to choose one that fruited on a primocane (first year cane). Since the four years ago when we first planted the raspberries, the raspberry patch has really thrived this past year. We have enough room for the patch that we are not really controlling the patch yet and allowing it to grow as it pleases.

Raspberries need a lot of sunlight, air circulation and good drainage. Red and yellow raspberries generally grow in a 'patch' while black and most purple raspberries are more apt to grow in a hill. Ever-bearing raspberries which are also often called fall-bearing or primocane fruiting raspberries produce raspberries at the tips of the canes. After or during the second year, the plants can produce a summer crop of raspberries.

Red raspberries that produce fruit on second year canes (floricanes) that are in the excellent to very good range are: Latham, Boyne, Nova, Festival, Killarney and Haida. Honeyqueen is a yellow raspberry that produces fruit on second year canes (floricanes) and is listed as only "good" on the U of M charts.

Black floricanes did not have any cultivars in the excellent to very good range, only two in the poor range. Purple floricanes included only two in the fair range which were Royalty and Brandywine.

Red raspberries that produce fruit on first year canes (primocanes) that are in the excellent to very good range are: Redwing, Double Delight, Red River and Heritage. The Yellow primocanes only had one in the fair range which was Anne while the only other mentioned was in the good category with the cultivar name of Fallgold.

Raspberries have very few problems with insects or disease problems. A heavy mulch can be used to control weeds.

At our house, this usually means a good place for snakes to live during the summer months. Birds can be a problem so you might need to invest in some netting, and occasionally the lady beetles like to eat the raspberries as they ripen.

This can be controlled by making sure you pick your raspberries early in the day, every day. Picnic beetles can also be a problem and can also be controlled by keeping up with picking the ripe berries.

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