Good Gardening: Raspberries

Aug 6, 2018

Raspberries used to be called Raspis Berries. Somebody shortened is to raspberries, and mot of us stopped pronouncing the p.

Credit John Fischer

 If you think raspberries are a once a season early summer crop, you're missing half the boat. I used to be happy with a few late season, rain soaked second crop berries in September or October. Now the second crop starts in August and rivals the early summer berries in both volume and ice cream topping taste.

 If you're not a raspberry aficionado, or you've been confused about how to prune them, let me explain their life cycle. Parents, it's fine if the kids keep listening.

 Canes grow up from the ground in spring, and produce a cluster of berries at the top of the cane in late summer or early fall. The next year those same canes produce an early summer crop on the whole length of the cane, and then die. Once they have finished producing their second crop, you can cut them off at ground level. That would be about now.

 But don't cut the canes that came up this spring until they have produced their top of the cane fall crop. Because my fall crop canes are almost ten feet tall this year, I (ok- my wife) just bends the canes down to pick the fall berries. But it would be awkward for her to pick fruit from such tall canes next year. so after the fall harvest, I cut them back to about five or six feet.

 Thin the fall canes after harvest, or dig them out to start a new patch or give to friends.

 Water them well this fall, and the transplanted canes will produce a few berries next year, send up canes to produce a fall crop, and start the whole cycle over again.

 Now a warning. Raspberries will spread, and you won't be able to stop them. They will boldly seek out new places to grow where no raspberries have grown before. Not a bad thing- just a warning.

 I'm John Fischer with KLCC's Good Gardening.