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The best measure of a man's honesty isn't his income tax return. It's the zero adjust on his bathroom scale.
Arthur C. Clarke

Raspberries

Rubus idaeus

Raspberries are one of the easiest plants to grow. Stuff them in the ground, keep them moist, and you will have raspberries almost forever.

Raspberries come in two types: Primocane and Floricane

Floricanes are the most common, and the only ones with significant commercial use. They bear heavily for a few week in early summer. The bear only on side branches of the 2nd year canes.

Primocanes produce less fruit per bush, and spread that production out over a longer period of time, starting about the time the floricanes finish, and continuing to frost.

Alas, it's not quite this simple. Some floricanes will produce fall berries on first year canes. Some Primocanes will have a light crop on canes their second summer.

I've chosen to carry two types of raspberries.

Souris raspberry is a floricane similar in berry size to Boyne. Souris has better yields, and is more cold resistant.

Double Delight raspberry is a primocane, producing slightly smaller berries.

I sell them in 20's because that's about right for a single family. 20 Souris and 40 will give you fairly regular raspberries on the cornflakes during the bearing season with a few lots of raspberries on ice cream sprinkled in.

Planting and care

Raspberries like a moist loamy soil. They are fairly shallow rooted. 4-5 inches of decent soil is lots. If you have heavy clay or sandy soil, mix in large quantities of organic material. Peatmoss, dried leaves, compost, wood chips, bark chips. Avoid large quantities of fine sawdust until it's been composted -- it sucks the nitrogen from the soil, and spruce wood has natural chemicals that are tough on other plants. Rototil in, water thoroughly.

Plant in a single row, 6 inches to a foot a apart. Try to match the dirt line on the canes with the new dirt in their bed. You don't have to be fussy about it, a centimeter either way won't matter.

Put a permanent stake in every 8-12 feet. This can be an old fence post, or a cedar post. I am concerned about leaching of new pressure treated wood near stuff I eat, but a 20 year old post has lost most of what will leach.

Attach 2 12-16" cross bars to the posts, and put a small fence staple (used for chicken wire) in each end. The cross bars should be at about 18" and 3 feet.

Run a chunk of twine along the tips of the cross bars. These keep the canes from flopping into the aisles. The twine is sacrificial. Remove in spring when cleaning up the dead canes, and replace.

Keep the canes mulched with wood chips, flax straw, grass clippings. This retains moisture. Water when the bottom side of the mulch is dry.

Old carpet, fuzzy side down makes excellent weed control in the aisles.

Yearly cycle

In spring remove dead canes. For primacanes you can just mow them, if the number of live canes in spring is small. For floricanes, you just have to pick them out by hand, or grow twice as many, and mow one row each year. The dead canes are pretty obvious, and snap at a touch. This can be done the first nice day that the snow is gone.

With spring you will see new canes come up, usually a few inches away from the old ones. If they come up too far from the row, you can transplant them when they are about 3-6 inches tall. Either transplant back into the row, where you have a space, or start a new row with them, or pot them up for friends.

Once the stinkweed starts to come up, lay out the aisle carpets.

Remulch as needed. Fertilizer advice depends: Google is your friend. I don't know yet.

Berries are ripe when they pull off easily from the core.

In fall after the poplar leaves drop, turn your carpets over to dry, then when dry, roll up and store for winter. This will double or triple the life of the carpet.


Got something to say? Email me: sfinfo@sherwoods-forests.com

Want to talk right now? Talk to me: (8 am to 9 pm only, please) 1-780-848-2548


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Sherwood's Forests is located about 75 km southwest of Edmonton, Alberta. Please refer to the map on our Contact page for directions.