More Delicious Fruits

    • It’s bare root season, which means you can save money on fruit trees and roses by planting them now. A wide selection is now available.
    • Start an asparagus bed so you can enjoy their young, tender shoots straight from the garden.
    • Mulch established rhubarb plants with three inches of well-rotted manure.
    • Witch hazels bloom in the middle of winter with their interesting and showy, fragrant yellow or red blooms. One might look good in your garden.

The Raspberry Patch

Growing a raspberry patch in your yard is easy, there is very little maintenance and you are rewarded with succulent berries year after year. By planting different varieties that bear at different times, you can have a steady supply of fresh raspberries all summer long.

There are four types of raspberries, red, purple, black and yellow, and many varieties to choose from. The red raspberry is first to ripen, followed by the black, purple, and yellow cultivars.

Red raspberries can also be divided into two types: summer-bearing or everbearing. Summer-bearing cultivars produce one crop in the early summer, while everbearing cultivars can produce up to two crops a year. The first crop is produced in late summer or fall and the second crop the next spring.

‘Willamette’ is the earliest to bear with dark red fruit and mild flavor. It is followed by ‘Meeker’, with medium red fruit and excellent traditional raspberry flavor, and ‘Newburgh’, which has light red berries with good flavor. ‘Tulameen’ has a large fruit with an excellent, non-traditional raspberry flavor, and a long harvest season.

Everbearing raspberries include ‘Amity’, which has medium red fruit of good flavor with almost no spines, ‘Heritage’, which also has good fruit but usually bears too late for our climate, and ‘Autumn Bliss’, which has large fruit that are highly flavorful and very productive.

Black raspberry plants tend to bear fruit midseason and are preferred by chefs because the fruit tends to be sweeter. ‘Munger’ is a small, blue-black berry with good flavor that ripens in July. ‘Royalty’ has a large, reddish-purple berry with soft, but sweet, flavor. It is a favorite for making jams and adding to pies.

Yellow raspberries are less common than the other two types but produce berries that are just as sweet and large. Most yellow raspberries are fall-ripening including ‘Fall Gold’. Its fruit is medium-sized, yellow with a pink blush, soft, but with an excellent, sweet flavor.

Raspberries need well-drained soil that is somewhat acidic and at least 6 to 8 hours of sun a day. Plant vines 2-3 feet apart in rows 4-6 feet apart, and construct a simple trellis system to keep the vines upright for easy harvesting. A summer mulch will help keep the area weed-free, retain moisture and keep the soil cooler.

Prune summer red raspberries after harvest by removing the canes that bore fruit. Fall-ripening varieties bear on new canes that grow in the summer. After fruiting, either cut these canes to the ground, or remove the portion that fruited and leave the lower canes to produce next spring.

Once everything is in place, your raspberry patch will provide you with many years of savory satisfaction.

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