Sunday, June 29

Don't blow the raspberries

Last December we planted a row of new raspberries - described in Martyn's blog here - to replace a row of canes that unexpectedly all died. 

We originally had three varieties - late fruiting Glen Magna, mid season Glen Ample and early fruiting Glen Moy. The early variety never really did well for us both in terms of fruit production and cane growth so we decided to replace the canes with just two varieties. We stuck with Glen Ample but decided for a change of late variety and chose Tulameen. (Interestingly both Martyn and I came up with Tulameen independently after researching the varieties on offer).
The new canes have all taken and are growing well. As they had been cut down before shipping and as summer fruiting raspberries grow on wood produced in the previous year we didn't expect any fruit at all this season but we are picking a smattering. The important thing is that they look to be producing some good growth which will hopefully give us fruit next year.
I'll completely cut out the canes that were produced last year after we finish picking our expected meagre supply of berries.

We have two varieties of late autumn fruiting raspberries - All Gold a yellow variety and Joan J.  These are fairly old plants that have been producing fruit for a fair number of years. Autumn fruiting varieties produce fruits on new canes but will also produce some earlier fruit on last year's canes. For this reason some people cut out only half the old canes in early spring leaving the rest to fruit before cutting them out completely. We have already picked one or two fruits from bits of old canes that had been accidentally missed when cutting back this year.

This way gardeners get two bites of the raspberry as, in late summer/early autumn, a second crop of fruit is produced on the new canes. Seeing as we grow summer raspberries I prefer to keep things simple and cut all the previous seasons growth to the ground in early spring. I could do it earlier but I think the old canes give a bit of frost protection to the roots. They probably don't need it but I like to play safe. At this point I also tidy up the beds as they become fairly weedy over the year
The new canes soon grow and produce quite a dense thicket of canes which I like to thin out. I take out any spindly weak looking canes and thin out any that are growing very closely together.
All Gold before and after
Joan J before and after

The before and after photos maybe don't look different but they certainly do when your head is stuck under the leaves.

An added problem with our Joan J is that there is a bindweed problem in that area and so I have to spend a bit of time freeing the canes for the bindweed's stranglehold. I actually removed about two barrow-loads of the stuff which will no doubt regrow as some of the roots are entangled amongst the raspberry roots and impossible to remove.

Our third type of raspberry is Glencoe which grows entirely differently. We planted just one plant which has now formed quite a large clump. It grows in a similar way to tayberries and blackberries. It fruits on the previous years' canes, (Like blackberries I guess it would also fruit on old canes too if these were left to grow but then the plant would get out of control). I prefer to cut out all the fruited canes when they have finished producing.
In the photos above you can see some very tall upright canes - they grow up to 2½ metres/ 8 feet tall - these are the canes produced this tear. As you can imagine left to its own devices Glencoe would, like a blackberry, become rampant especially as, like a blackberry, where the tip of the cane meets the soil it roots. Thankfully the canes are thornless which makes pruning painless.

Rather than shortening the canes as I have read some people do I bend them over and train them on wires. 
This is also supposed to promote better fruiting. Whether this is correct or not we certainly gather a good harvest; last year we picked just over 2.6 kg of fruit. The purple fruits are smaller than 'normal' raspberries but have a good flavour. We have just picked our first lot of berries from the sunny side of the plant. The shadier side is a little slower to produce ripe fruits and so in a way extends the season. Last year we picked fruit on every visit to the plot over a two month period and what's more the bees can't get enough of the flowers.








25 comments:

  1. My Raspberry plants have very pale, almost yellow leaves this year. I'm wondering whether this could be a mineral deficiency of some sort. Have you had any such problems? Last year the crop was very poor, and I put this down to the weather conditions, but I suppose the plants might have a virus or something. I'll see what happens this season, and if the crop is poor I think I might dig them up and start again. When space is at a premium there's no point in persevering with something that produces a poor yield.

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    1. I haven't had that problem, Mark but it could well be a mineral deficiency. Have you tried feeding them?

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  2. I'm harvesting some Glen Ample now, it's a bit of a novelty having never grown raspberries previously, though I have to say that I much prefer strawberries.

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    1. It's a a good variety, Jo. I like both but raspberries freeze better.

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  3. My berries have just started cropping, and I planted four varieties, but like yourselves I will be digging out the two that are not doing so well and planting double of the two I like best. I have never seen that method of tying in but will be thinking about something along those lines for my loganberry that I can never get under control.

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    1. I inly use that in the Glencoe raspberries as they produce such long canes, Deborah. I do use the same method for our tayberry and blackberries - it works well.

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    2. I don't use this method for the other raspberries Deborah just Glencoe as it has such long canes, I do use the same method for our tayberry and blackberries as it suits them really well and the pruning is the same too.

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    3. Thank you for that information, Sue. My patch has become a thicket {as my back went at a most inoportune time} and will need much taming at the end of this season.

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  4. Our raspberries are no where near ready but it looks like a decent crop this year. Our allotment neighbours have a WONDERFUL crop and picked a good haul yesterday .... unfortunately someone had helped themselves to their whole strawberry crop while no one was looking! Whoever it was obviously doesn't like raspberries!

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    1. That's disgusting about the strawberry thief ,Patricia. It;s one thing sharing with wildlife but not low life, We picked a punnet from our plot neighbours canes today as he told us to help ourselves so I did,

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  5. A plant I've never grown, but I enjoy reading about yours. Hope you get a good harvest.

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    1. Maybe next year from the new canes, Kelli but Glencoe is already loaded with fruit.

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  6. I don't know what variety of raspberry I have but it looks as if the crop will be reasonable this year. Here they should be ready in a couple of weeks.

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    1. As long as they are tasty it doesn't matter does it, Alain?

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  7. I'll be interested to hear how you get on with Tulameen as I've planted it too... my favourite of the supermarket varieties!

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    1. The fact that it was described as the number one supermarket choice nearly made us wonder about buying it Jessica. I've never bought supermarket raspberries and supermarket aren't renowned for taste. Then I read that I shouldn't be put off by this. Good to know you have liked them.

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  8. I've never tasted the golden ones, I must rectify that! How good to be getting a few fruits when not expecting any. I only grow loganberries now, I love the delicate flavour of them.xxx

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    1. The yellow ones don't taste any different, Snowbird. See David's comments below which are true. I wouldn't plant them again.

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  9. I had All Gold,Autumn Bliss plus a n other autumn variety growing in my garden and tried the double cropping method but with not very well established plants.
    Have now moved them to my plot and plan to cut them down each year as I've also got summer varieties growing some distance away for an early crop.I dispensed with the All Gold because as soon as they ripened the berries turned into a greyish mush.
    The leaves of autumn raspberries do look yellower than the summer ones but maybe it's because they are still immature at this time of year?
    The summer Glen Ample are fruiting well despite having been planted and moved twice within 18 months when rearranging my plot! They go very well with strawberries.

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    1. I haven;t tried double cropping either, David as the point of them was specifically to extend into autumn. JOan J has been moved too a couple of times and is flourishing,

      I agree with your assessment of All Gold and was going to 'do away' with ours and then we had a good crop. If the weather is kind they are fine but they soon spoil if it is wet or windy, For now they have a reprieve.

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  10. Sorry if you read this when one paragraph was formatting was messed about by Blogger - I think it is now OK.

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  11. Due to space I have stuck with the autumn fruiting varieties. I have a couple of Polka & the rest are Autumn Bliss. I have added a few All Gold to the mix too! I'm looking forward to them fruiting, you can't beat raspberries fresh from the plot.

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    1. Autumn Bliss is a parent of Joan J, Jo. Do you use the half pruning method to get earlier fruit?

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  12. Nice to see the new canes looking healthy. My Summer raspberries suddenly died back on N1 plot last year. Some were All gold. I put it down to the Winter water logging of their bed and removed the surviving canes, roots etc some time later, as I have enough of other types of fruit during the Summer anyway. About a month ago my Autumn raspberries started to die off on N2 Plot (along the same ground level as the summer ones had been growing). Again this area of ground had been very wet over last Winter. A few canes (summer variety) survived in the top corner of the bed, so no more raspberries for a while anyway.

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    1. We think ours succumbed to wet soil too, Rooko. It's a wonder the new ones didn't suffer the same fate after all this year's rain.

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