Saturday, April 14, 2012

Raspberry Cultivation

Raspberries are a biennial plant. In the spring the new growth or primocanes emerge from the root systems. For everbearing varieties  the new canes grow up, bloom in August, and produce clusters of berries on the tips in September and they last until frost. After they go through a winter they produce another crop of berries on the side shoots or floricanes. These berries come on in June . The cycle keeps repeating if the canes are given room so you will have two crops per year continuously, from the primocanes in September and from the floricanes in June.

The method for growing raspberries consists of double-digging a long bed 30" wide, oriented east-west. Compost to be added or composted manure and top with mulch. Raspberry starts are planted 18"-24" apart. Steel T-posts of the type used for electric fence can be used for support, placing them along the edges of the bed about 8-10 feet apart. Then horizontal wires (the lighter gauge electric fence wire) are to be  run at 1, 2, 3, and 4 feet off the ground to contain the canes. For multiple rows, 7 feet pathways can be left between rows. Dead canes can be cut out twice a year (the spent primocanes can be topped just above the upper wire in the winter) and move suckers that get out of the bed into new beds.

Raspberies do need good drainage and plenty of water. Full sun is best.

Uses of Raspberries:

Besides being delicious, raspberries have excellent nutritional qualities. They are rich in vitamin C, contain a potential anti-cancer agent called elegiac acid, and are a source of soluble fiber.

Raspberries freeze well (spread out on cookie sheets and freeze, then seal in freezer bags) and can be used in all kinds of recipes. One of the favorites is to heat the frozen berries gently in a saucepan and pour over ice cream. They make great smoothies- stir together in a blender frozen raspberries, banana, apple juice, peaches and strawberries if you have them.


Examples of raspberry species in Rubus subgenus Idaeobatus include:

Rubus crataegifolius (Korean raspberry)
Rubus gunnianus (Tasmanian alpine raspberry)
Rubus idaeus (European red raspberry)
Rubus leucodermis (Whitebark or Western raspberry, Blue raspberry, Black raspberry)
Rubus occidentalis (Black raspberry)
Rubus parvifolius (Australian native raspberry)
Rubus phoenicolasius (Wine raspberry or Wineberry)
Rubus rosifolius (West Indian raspberry)
Rubus strigosus (American red raspberry)
Rubus ellipticus (Yellow Himalayan Raspberry)

Several species of Rubus are also called raspberries that are classified in other subgenera, including:

Rubus arcticus (Arctic raspberry, subgenus Cyclactis)
Rubus deliciosus (Boulder raspberry, subgenus Anoplobatus)
Rubus nivalis (Snow raspberry, subgenus Chamaebatus)
Rubus odoratus (Flowering raspberry, subgenus Anoplobatus)
Rubus sieboldii (Molucca raspberry, subgenus Malachobatus)
Here are some helpful websites for information on berries:
Major kinds of cultivated raspberries

 Raspberries are an important commercial fruit crop, widely grown in all temperate regions of the world.

Many of the most important modern commercial red raspberry cultivars derive from hybrids between R. idaeus and R. strigosus. Some botanists consider the Eurasian and American red raspberries to all belong to a single, circumboreal species, Rubus idaeus, with the European plants then classified as either R. idaeus subsp. idaeus or R. idaeus var. idaeus, and the native North American red raspberries classified as either R. idaeus subsp. strigosus, or R. idaeus var. strigosus. Recent breeding has resulted in cultivars that are thornless and more strongly upright, not needing staking.

The black raspberry, Rubus occidentalis
, is also occasionally cultivated in the United States, providing both fresh and frozen fruit as well as jams, preserves, and other products, all with that species' distinctive, richer flavour.

Purple raspberries
have been produced by horticultural hybridization of red and black raspberries, and have also been found in the wild in a few places (for example, in Vermont) where the American red and the black raspberries both grow naturally. The botanical name Rubus × neglectus applies to these naturally occurring plants as well as horticulturally produced plants having the same parentage. Commercial production of purple-fruited raspberries is rare.

Both the red and the black raspberry species have albino-like pale-yellow natural or horticultural variants resulting from presence of recessive genes that impede production of anthocyanin pigments. Fruits from such plants are called golden raspberries or yellow raspberries; despite their similar appearance, they retain the distinctive flavour of their respective species (red or black). Most pale-fruited raspberries commercially sold in the eastern United States are derivatives of red raspberries. Yellow-fruited variants of the black raspberry are sometimes grown in home gardens.

Red raspberries have also been crossed with various species in other subgenera of the genus Rubus, resulting in a number of hybrids, the first of which was the loganberry. Later notable hybrids include boysenberry (a multi-generation hybrid), and tayberry. Hybridization between the familiar cultivated red raspberries and a few Asiatic species of Rubus has also been achieved.


Raspberries are grown for the fresh fruit market and for commercial processing into individually quick frozen (IQF) fruit, purée, juice, or as dried fruit used in a variety of grocery products. Traditionally, raspberries were a mid-summer crop, but with new technology, cultivars, and transportation, they can now be obtained year-round. Raspberries need ample sun and water for optimal development. Raspberries thrive in well-drained soil with a pH of between 6 and 7 with ample organic matter to assist in retaining water. While moisture is essential, wet and heavy soils or excess irrigation can bring on Phytophthora root rot which is one of the most serious pest problems facing red raspberry. As a cultivated plant in moist temperate regions, it is easy to grow and has a tendency to spread unless pruned. Escaped raspberries frequently appear as garden weeds, spread by seeds found in bird droppings.

An individual raspberry weighs 3–5 g (0.11–0.18 oz), and is made up of around 100 drupelets, each of which consists of a juicy pulp and a single central seed. Raspberry bushes can yield several hundred berries a year. Unlike blackberries and dewberries, a raspberry has a hollow core once it is removed from the receptacle.

Raspberry nutrients and health benefits
Raw RaspberriesNutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)

Energy                 263.592 kJ (63.000 kcal)
Carbohydrates    14.7 g
- Sugars                5.4 g
- Dietary fibre          8 g
Fat                         .8 g
- saturated               0 g
- monounsaturated  .1 g
- polyunsaturated    .5 g
Protein                  1.5 g
Vitamin A equiv  .  1 μg (0%)
- beta-carotene      120 μg (1%)
Vitamin C              26.2 mg (32%)
Calcium                 25 mg (3%)
Iron                      .69 mg (5%)
Sodium                    1 mg (0%)
Raspberries contain significant amounts of polyphenol antioxidants such as anthocyanin pigments linked to potential health protection against several human diseases. The aggregate fruit structure contributes to its nutritional value, as it increases the proportion of dietary fibre, placing it among plant foods with the highest fibre contents known, up to 20% fibre per total weight. Raspberries are a rich source of vitamin C, with 30 mg per serving of 1 cup (about 50% daily value), manganese (about 60% daily value) and dietary fibre (30% daily value). Contents of B vitamins 1-3, folic acid, magnesium, copper and iron are considerable in raspberries.

Raspberries rank near the top of all fruits for antioxidant strength
, particularly due to their dense contents of ellagic acid , quercetin, gallic acid, anthocyanins, cyanidins, pelargonidins, catechins, kaempferol and salicylic acid. Yellow raspberries and others with pale-coloured fruits are lower in anthocyanins.

Due to their rich contents of antioxidant vitamin C and the polyphenols mentioned above, raspberries have an ORAC value (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) of about 4900 per 100 grams, including them among the top-ranked ORAC fruits. Cranberries and wild blueberries have around 9000 ORAC units and apples average 2800.

Although there are no clinical studies to date proving these effects in humans, antioxidant and antiproliferative (chemopreventive) effects against cancer have been linked to the amount of phenolics and flavonoids in various foods including raspberries.

Raspberries are a low-glycemic index food, as are most other berries.

Commercial production
Worldwide raspberry yield -Output in Tons, 2003-2004:
 Russia              95000 26 % 110000 28 %
 Serbia              79471 21 % 79180 20 %
 United States    48535 13 % 50000 13 %
 Poland              42941 12 % 42000 11 %
 Germany           20600 6 % 20500 5 %
 Ukraine             19700 5 % 20000 5 %
 Canada             14236 4 % 13700 4 %
 Hungary            9000 2 % 10000 3 %
United Kingdom 8000 2 % 8000 2 %
 France               6830 2 % 7500 2 %
The Rest             27603 7 % 27890 7 %
Total          371916 100 % 389061 100 %


Raspberry leaves can be used fresh or dried in herbal and medicinal teas. They have an astringent flavour, and in herbal medicine are reputed to be effective in regulating menses.


Raspberries are traditionally planted in the winter as dormant canes, although planting of tender, plug plants produced by tissue culture has become much more common. A specialized production system called "long cane production" involves growing canes for 1 year in a northern climate such as Scotland (UK) or Washington State (US) where the chilling requirement for proper bud break is met early. These canes are then dug, roots and all, to be replanted in warmer climates such as Spain where they quickly flower and produce a very early season crop. Plants should be spaced 1 m apart in fertile, well drained soil; raspberries are usually planted in raised beds/ridges if there is any question about root rot problems.

The flowers can be a major nectar source for honeybees and other pollinators.

Raspberries are very vigorous and can be locally invasive. They propagate using basal shoots (also known as suckers); extended underground shoots that develop roots and individual plants. They can sucker new canes some distance from the main plant. For this reason, raspberries spread well, and can take over gardens if left unchecked.

The fruit is harvested when it comes off the torus/receptacle easily and has turned a deep colour (red, black, purple, or golden yellow, depending on the species and cultivar). This is when the fruits are ripest and sweetest. Excess fruit can be made into raspberry jam or frozen.

Cultivated raspberry, in flower in a garden

Numerous raspberry cultivars have been selected. Raspberries are often propagated using cuttings and will root readily in moist soil conditions. Using cuttings preserves the genotype of the parent, and is the preferred method of propagation when making large plantings.

Two types of most commercially grown kinds of raspberry are available, the summer-bearing type that produces an abundance of fruit on second-year canes (floricanes) within a relatively short period in mid-summer, and double- or "ever"-bearing plants, which also bear some fruit on first-year canes (primocanes) in the late summer and fall, as well as the summer crop on second-year canes. Various kinds of raspberries can be cultivated from hardiness zones 3 to 9.

Diseases and pests 

Raspberries are sometimes eaten by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species (butterflies and moths).

Botrytis cinerea, or Gray Mould, is a common fungal infection of raspberries and other soft fruit. It is seen as a grey mould growing on the raspberries, and particularly affects fruit which is bruised, as it provides an easy entrance point for the spores of B. Cinerea.

Raspberry plants should not be planted where potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants or bulbs have previously been grown, without prior fumigation of the soil. These crops are hosts for the disease Verticillium Wilt, a fungus that can stay in the soil for many years and can infest the raspberry crop.

How to Grow Raspberries

Everbearing raspberries are better to be choosen. The plants' canes grow to more than 7 feet tall every year.

Raspberries are not just another tasty berry; they are loaded with healthful attributes. They're high in fiber and contain vitamin A, folate, antioxidants, and numerous minerals; the juice contains vitamin C; and those sometimes-annoying little seeds contain vitamin E.
rootstock of raspberry

The key elements to raspberry success are careful selection of plant type, a good solid trellising system, and husbandry techniques that match the needs of the plant. Once everything is in place, the raspberry patch will provide one with many years of satisfaction.

Why choose an everbearing variety?

Most of the people  choose a classically red, everbearing variety called 'Summit'.Rooted canes can  be purchased from the nurseries which  are  certified disease-free.

Various raspberry cultivars will flourish from Zones 3 to 10. A little homework will get one, too, the right raspberries for one's location. Raspberries come in varying shapes, sizes, and colors—red, purple, golden, white in various nurseries.

Summer-bearing raspberries fruit for about a month, then it's all over  until next year. Everbearing raspberries, treated well, are just that—ever bearing. Once established, everbearing raspberries -- called fall bearing by some—begin production in July. The canes are usually so loaded down, they bend far over their support wires. Summer-bearing varieties generally fruit earlier, usually by a few weeks, so it is better to plant a few bushes of wine-red 'Brandywine' to enjoy while one  waits for the heavier-producing main crop. For variety, it is better to  add the yellow-tinged 'Golden', which is everbearing. Other similar varieties are 'Fall Gold', 'Golden Summit', and 'Golden Harvest'.

How many plants, and how big a patch?

Raspberries multiply precociously, prodigiously, and prolifically. If one plant is planted  this year, one will have a dozen or more in the same spot next year. Raspberries are joyfully exuberant about procreating by underground runners, poking up impressive numbers of healthy new plants all around the original patch. It is not a  problem  because one whack of the hoe takes care of them. One  can also present them to a friend or use them to extend your patch.

Two-row raspberry patch can be  7 feet wide by 33 feet long. It ca  be 9 or 10 feet wide to allow more elbowroom for picking between the rows. It is better to have  3 feet between rows, which is just barely enough. Four to 6 feet would be better.

Raised beds eliminate root rot

Raspberry plants hate wet feet, and they are gross feeders. It is better to  build a 20-inch-high raised bed and filling it with a mixture of four-fifths good garden topsoil blended with about one-fifth sand, peat, and well-rotted manure. If, soil is acidic , it is better to  add some lime, because raspberries prefer a soil pH of around 6.0. One end of the box may be kept open to allow easy access with  wheelbarrows, then closed it in when the box was full. This job can be done in the fall, so that one is  ready to plant, in coming  spring.

If soil is  rich, deep soil that drains well year-round, one can simply plant one's raspberries in a permanent garden site. The Pacific Northwest gets rain all winter, and many gardeners lose raspberries to root rot because they make the mistake of planting their raspberries' fussy little toes directly in the ground, which is often soggy clay covered with a skim of topsoil. Raised beds allow  to have deep soil that holds moisture evenly yet drains well.

It is important that one does not establish ones raspberry patch in an area where one  have recently grown tomatoes, peppers, or potatoes, to avoid verticillium wilt, which these vegetables can carry, and raspberries can catch.

Spring is the best time to plant

The best time to find plants, early spring, is also the best time to plant them .One can also  put raspberries in anytime in the summer . Spring plants will establish better, though, and may well give  a few berries their first summer.

The  bare-root plants may be soaked in a half-strength solution of vitamin B1 growth stimulant (1/2 teaspoon per quart water) for about six hours to give the  rootstock a healthy start. Planting should not be delayed. The small plants will not stand for soaking longer than a day in the B1 solution, and they will die quickly with dry roots. To keep the plants dormant  the bare-root plants  before one is  ready to plant, they can be put  in the fridge .

Have on hand some well-rotted manure, mushroom manure, or compost; organic fertilizer  or 4-20-20; a water source; and some mulch. Straw can be used for  mulch, but other materials will do just fine.

A hole of 1 foot deep and  wide can be dug  per plant. There should be a gap of  3 feet apart in the row for each plant . Handful of rotted manure and fertilizer can be put  in the hole.Some water can be added , the plant can be popped  in,  the soil  then carefully be tucked around and over its spread roots to make a small depression or basin at the surface, a place for rainfall to accumulate. Sprinkle some more rotted manure in this depression to provide a jump start for growth, then cover the ground around the plants with your mulch -- no more than 3 inches deep. Landscape cloth can be laid  over the  path between the rows and be covered it with wood chips. Drip irrigation is the ideal way to water raspberries, and this is the easiest time to install it.

Organic fertilizer mix for raspberries

A trellis of wooden crossbars and wires supports the canes in rows and keeps the path clear. Cross wires wrapped around the long wires form neat partitions of canes.A raspberry plant laden with fruit is top-heavy and needs support to keep it from falling over.

Pruning for a long harvest season

The smooth green 1-year-old canes and the rougher brown 2-year-old canes are easy to tell apart. Each spring, 1-year-old canes are trimmed back to below the fruiting area, and 2-year-old canes are removed completely.

The main purpose of pruning is to get rid of older canes in favor of newer canes that will produce fruit. In late summer, some of the newly planted canes will begin to fruit at the top of the cane and continue into the fall. In the early spring of the following year, while the plants are still dormant, it's time to prune these now 1-year-old canes, and here is where we do something special.

The common method of pruning everbearing raspberries is simply to cut all of the canes down to about 1 inch from the ground. Though it's an easy way to go, this method eliminates the July crop. Fruiting doesn't begin until early fall, the reason some raspberry growers call everbearing raspberries "fall bearing."

Raspberry plants need a significant amount of nitrogen to grow to their full 6 or 7 feet, but one should stop pushing high-nitrogen fertilizer on them as fruiting time approaches. At this time, the plants must concentrate on producing fruit instead of leaves. Using the homemade organic fertilizer on the facing page allows the plants to receive the nutrients they need when they need them.

Some of the critters that can attack raspberries are nematodes, root or bud weevils, aphids, fruit worms, and crown borers. This latter problem involves maggots girdling the emerging canes, which may then break off at soil level or produce a poor crop. If one  cuts  the canes to the ground, one  can confound the borers and avoid drenching the root zone with an insecticide.

To ensure pollination of the raspberries, better to build a simple orchard mason bee house by drilling holes in a 4x4 and giving it a shingle-roof overhang. The house can be secured to a sunny trellis pole, and the bees will come.

A few diseases one may encounter are fruit rot, root rot, and spur blight. Fruit rot is a fungus that sets up housekeeping when canes are too crowded. The remedy is to prune for openness and to pick frequently in wet weather. Overhead watering may be avoided and  fruiting canes are to be pruned out after harvest. Root rot results in the sudden death of the plant right after flowering, when the weather turns warm. The only remedy is to plant resistant varieties in friable, well-drained, rich soil. Spur blight shows up as dark chocolate-colored blotches on primocanes in mid-summer to fall when humidity is high. Infected areas on overwintered canes are silver gray and produce millions of spores. Lime-sulphur solution applied as a dormant spray and good air circulation provide adequate prevention.

On the flip side of pest control, healthy pollination is to be encouraged in the raspberry patch by building a simple home for orchard mason bees, which is to be attached to one of the trellis poles. It's just a length of 4x4 with 5/16-inch holes drilled in it and an overhanging shingle for a roof; the orchard bees take up residence in the holes and proceed to do their thing.

Use of berries

Raspberries can be eaten as desserts of all kinds, ranging from ice cream topped with berries or berries topped with ice cream and a mint leaf, to fancy cakes layered with mashed berries and chocolate and decorated with wild abandon. Bumbleberry pies can be made from a mixture of summer fruits with berries. Raspberries can be  freezed  in great quantities for subsequent use .

How to Freeze Raspberries

Freezing raspberries is easy. Simply spread clean, firm berries on a cookie sheet and pop it in the freezer. When frozen, the berries roll nicely into ziplock bags. The sweetest berries are from the heat of summer. They will keep until the following summer and are sheer ambrosia on pancakes or waffles. And all of the options that were open to you when they were fresh are still there. One can still, for example, make raspberry vinegar with frozen raspberries, and one  can spread sound berries over a salad to give it a special zing, certain to bring raves.

Raspberries keep well in the fridge for a few days, especially if one has picked them cleanly and discarded any mushy ones. An ice cream pail or any other plastic container with its lid on is all one need.

Raspberries can be mixed with  pulp from the golden plums  to make a jewel-toned jelly. Raspberries also make a great sauce, which can be frozen and used hot as the crowning touch on a simple dessert, or cold as a coulis. Raspberry juice can be mixed with soda to make a refreshing drink. The possibilities are endless.

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