How to Grow Raspberries:

Raspberry, growing raspberries in your garden, oranically growing raspberries, home grown raspberriesAlthough many varieties are native to the Americas, raspberries and other brambles can also be found in the northern regions of Europe. They are closely related to the rose and also the strawberry.
There are many varieties of brambles; the most popular are raspberries and blackberries. In addition to these there are: tayberries, tummelberries, loganberries, and boysenberries, which are hybrids between raspberries and blackberries.
Raspberries come in orange, yellow, purple and black, but they are most commonly thought of as red. Blackberries are of course, black. The lesser know brambles are various colors, but are one of those 6 colors. Although they are all different in taste, looks, and size, they grow relatively the same. To simplify the information below, we will refer to all varieties as brambles.

Planting and Growing Raspberries:

Raspberry, growing raspberries, organic raspberriesBefore planting brambles, it’s important to try a few different varieties to determine which you prefer. The roots are perennial, so they are going to be a permanent addition to your garden. It is best to plant the variety you will enjoy best. Raspberries should be grown in an area by themselves. They do not grow well with other plants and do not compete well with weeds. Keep bed clean where you will be planting raspberries. Also, select the section of your yard where you are going to plant raspberries with some forethought.
Brambles can be propagated or purchased. Purchase plants for your yard online or from a local nursery. Make sure to select a variety that has grown successfully in your area. If you wish to propagate raspberries from a current plant, separate a piece of root with a bud or new cane from an existing plant. These should be taken from the mother plant when it is dormant in the fall. When cutting the root, cut on an angle, leaving about 5 to 6 inches (13 to 15 cm) of root on the cutting. Store over winter by burying roots in some moist sawdust, peat moss, or sand in a cool, dark room. Plant the cutting in spring after the danger of frost has passed.
Brambles need good, moist soil with a lot of organic material. Before planting, dig holes where the plants will be placed about 18 inches (45 cm) deep and 24 inches (60 cm) wide. Mix the soil taken from the hole with high quality compost, about 4 parts soil to 1 part compost. Replace half of the soil in the hole, forming a mound at the bottom and plant the bramble start. Spread the roots over the mound and replace the remainder of the soil and compost. Add an organic fertilized high in nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous.
Water the brambles heavily, especially when fruiting, but don’t saturate the soil. After planting, they should only need to be fertilized with nitrogen occasionally.
Most bramble canes are biannual, meaning they will grow, but not fruit until the second year. First year canes are called primocanes and second year canes are called floricanes. It is best to trellis the two kinds of canes for support, but also to keep them separated. On a “T” shaped trellis, tie primocanes straight up in the middle of the trellis and floricanes support in a “V” shape on the outside for easy cutting.
In the fall, primocanes should be tipped about 4 to 5 feet (1.2 to 1.5 meters) tall and floricanes should be cut at soil level. Burn all parts of the canes that have been cut to control pests and dieses. After cutting, release the primocanes from the center trellis to take the place of the spent floricanes.

Harvesting and Preserving Raspberries:

Harvest brambles when the berries are soft and full of flavor. Raspberries will pull off the stem, leaving a plug and a hole in the middle of the fruit. If you have to tug at all, they are not quite ripe. The other berries will pull completely off the stem and can be very delicate, so be careful. Pick often to encourage new growth.
Most bramble canes have thorns. While there are some thorn-less varieties, most of those will have small thorns. Be careful when harvesting berries. Wear gloves and a thick long-sleeved shirt.
Brambleberries are very perishable and should be eaten or preserved within a few days of picking. Place in the fridge in a non-airtight container, if you cannot preserve right away. They are extremely tasty fresh in fruit salads, ice cream and green salads. They preserve best as jam, but can also be individually frozen by placing them individually on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper in the freezer. Within 24 hours, place the berries in airtight bags and put back in the freezer until ready for use.

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