Tom’s Top Ten Reasons to Grow Raspberries

Tom’s Top Ten Reasons to Grow Raspberries

top ten reasons to grow raspberriesRaspberries beat the pants off just about anything I grow. Strawberries are whiners; peaches beyond picky;  apples moonlight as pest magnets; and grapes grouse to be pruned. I love them all, but the raspberry is the most effortless of the bunch. If you fear there’s  little green in your thumb, the raspberry may be a good plant pick for your edible garden.

The Top Ten Reasons I Grow Raspberries

  1. Easy to grow–they just want good drainage
  2. Birds prefer blueberries and cherries
  3. Minimal thorns (if any)
  4. Sweetness–flavor and perfume that can’t be beat
  5. Self-pollinating–no need to worry about planting two varieties
  6. No bending over to harvest–can’t say that about a strawberry
  7. Easy to prune–just remove last year’s dead canes
  8. Easy to pick–fruit yields to pull when ripe
  9. Prolific harvest–a small patch returns a lot of berries
  10. Freeze well–freeze single layer on cookie sheet, then place in ziploc bags
  11. Versatile fruit–desserts, smoothies, drinks, vinegar, jams, sherbet, sauces
  12. Shortcake prefers them (as do I)

fresh ripe raspberries ready to pickOkay, so I went over with my alotted top ten, but I assure you once you start growing raspberries, you’ll be adding to my list.  By the way, my favorite variety for the Puget Sound area is Tulameen.

Oh, and just one more reason: Good help is easy to find.

happy raspberry picker

Added July 26, 2010: My pal Deb in Juneau, Alaska had some ten-digit deliciousness to show off as well. Her photo technique is ingenious. In my photo-edited pic, I’m all left hands, but Deb proves a more resourceful photographer. She wrote, ” I shot with my chin, used the tongue of the boat trailer to hold the camera.” Yep she’s part great gardener, part gifted MacGyver and all good friend. Thanks Deb —  raspberries in Juneau–impressive.

raspberries: good growing in Juneau, AlaskaWhat I was blogging about:



40 thoughts on “Tom’s Top Ten Reasons to Grow Raspberries”

  • I have stupid, ridiculous raspberries which I have given more than one chance to be worthy. I’m kicking them out of the yard in favor of Farmer Tom’s Tulameen. I want fingers like that.

  • Elizabeth you won’t be sorry. I have a gold raspberry, Anne, that I’m kicking to the curb, uh compost pile I mean. Gave it three years, and it just didn’t deliver.

  • Mmmm…..you don’t need to convince me! This year is my first year in the house I’m currently in, and no raspberry bushes yet, so we’ve been buying them from the farmer’s market. I need to get some planted.

  • I just planted everbearing variety this spring. You’re right, they are much less temperamental than strawberries. Speaking of strawberries, I will be trying a day neutral variety called Sarian next year that is easily grown from seeds and will produce the next year.

    Thanks for the Blacktail watermelon suggestion! It’s on my list for next year.

    • And Thomas thanks for the Sarian strawberry tip; I’m not so thrilled with Tristar and would like to try another variety. I’m trying out Ozark Beauty which looks to be most promising. I’ll report into you when I pick the first berries.

  • Can you put some potting soil around your hands, add a few ferns and some moss and maybe an elf and then take the thumb-raspberry picture?

  • The power of visual persuasion. See, I would never have considered growing raspberries because I didn’t realize how much fun you can get out of them. Maybe I should nix the gooseberries in favor of raspberries? The goosies I could only imagine sticking up my nose.

  • 6,234 miles later and a lot of togetherness in the car and we are home. We are still talking about your raspberry sherbert..delish!!! and we have already finished off your apricot jam..so yummy. We enjoyed meeting you, Boz and Gracie and look forward to seeing you again on our next visit. Come to Kentucky and we will make you a fabulous julep!! and some green tomato pie. Judy (Matthew’s Mom)

  • Judy, the pleasure was mine. I’ve been enjoying the watermelon pickles, but even the more the memory of your wonderful visit. I may just take you up on the julep, and perhaps directions to the closest Hot Browns. As for the green tomato pie, I look forward to dedicating a blog post to your recipe. I need to embrace the green tomato and this could be the vehicle thanks to you.

  • Tom I used to do that with corn bugles when I was a kid. I’ve been wondering what I could use now that I don’t buy corn bugles anymore. You are hysterical – and the Tulameens are a big winner here too. I can finally say that I am raspberry sated and more than happy to wait until next summer for another raspberry. I still can’t believe how prolific they are. Let me just say, 30 plants is about twice too many for the average family…

  • Well, the birds may not prefer them…our deer though broke into the gardens a couple of months back, and did some rather extensive pruning on our new raspberry patch. Thus far the harvest has been a bit scant this year, rarely enough to decorate all ten digits at once, and none of our berries have made into the house. Next year though, deer willing, I’m looking forward to lots of these luscious red fruits!

  • CVF, if it’s any consolation, that’s what happen to me last year. I think the deer were wielding box cutters and blow torchers and found their way into my raspberry patch where they proceeded to dine on my raspberry canes as if eating asparagus–starting at the tip and moving down the stalk.

  • Sold, from your first photo alone! I AM going to plant raspberries next year! Can’t wait! I have a couple of marionberry plants right now which seem to be doing pretty well. (slurp!)

  • PS: Your post reminds me of a favorite quote:

    “I am not bound for any public place, but for ground of my own where I have planted vines and orchard trees, and in the heat of the day climbed up into the healing shadow of the woods. Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup.”
    ~(Wendell Berry)

  • My strawberries are going like gang busters and I’m still getting berries. They keep seeding all over my garden. Does this mean I could probably grow raspberries with success? I always thought they were harder. And here’s a question for you… Crows got to a packet of pea seeds and spilled them all over a gravel path in my yard. Now they are coming up like crazy and are about 6 inches tall. Could these be transplanted into my garden? Or should I just let them be? Thanks for any advice you can give!

  • Hi Karen, not sure where you live, but I think raspberries are easier to grow, especially in cooler summer areas. As for the peas, they transplant nicely if you wait for an overcast day and transplant them when it’s not too hot and you water them well. Usually, they perform best planted in the early spring, and peeter out when the temps get too hot. You may get some from your transplants as summer days cool into autumn. Give it a try!

  • I planted Tulameens this past Spring, some are now 4 feet high, some 8 feet. Should I be cutting anything back this fall? Hard to find info out there, which is how I found your wonderfully amazing site. We’re just down the bay from you, on Anderson Island (sorry about commandeering the Rhodie a few times!). Fully understand the deer/racoon thing!

  • Hi Sandi, I love Anderson Island! I have a friend whose family lives there.

    As for Tulameen raspberries, only cut out the dead fruiting canes that produced fruit this season. (Since this is your first year, you may not have any.) They will be dry, bare and branched out. DO NOT cut back fresh new green growth or new canes that sprouted this season but did not fruit. They will produce fruit next year. Good luck and thanks for the kind words!

  • Namaste from Kathmandu Nepal!
    What my 13 year old son misses most about living in the US is BERRIES so I’m thinking about trying to set up a hydroponic raspberry greenhouse with him (small). We have about 5 months in which it’s dry and getting dryer and then the monsoon cycle kicks in again and the humidity builds up. I think I can figure out how to remove some of the moisture from the air during the worst of it. Strawberries are grown here so I figures raspberries should be a piece of cake! :-). Would love your thoughts on this, as you seem to be quite the pro. LOVE the photos. I have one of my two children with olives on each finger. If I go with the raspberry idea for Christmas, I’ll use the photo (if it’s OK) on the card.

  • Namaste to you ShantiMama! Wow, Kathmandu! You may have something there with the berries. Our most invasive albeit delicious non-native plant is the Himalayan Blackberry. (My freezer is packed with gems.)

    As for raspberries, they have to have fantastic drainage to survive. Standing water causes crown and root rot. Our climate is pretty mild, but raspberries are pretty tough as I see they can grow in Maine (the Kathmandu of the Eastern Seaboard?): http://umaine.edu/publications/2066e/

    Feel free to use the photo for your Christmas card, and thanks for asking. Good luck!

  • Hi Tom: I am wondering what would be a good variety of rasberry to grow in Wenatchee?
    My husband is out copying your tomato trellis as we speak. Thanks so much for all the fun info.

    Patty

    • Hi Patty, you know I’m not really sure what raspberries would do well with the extreme temperatures of cold winters and hot summers in Wenatchee. We know you have no trouble growing apples there 😉 , but what I would do I check with a reputable nursery in Wenatchee, and ask them for the best variety for your area.

      Another idea would be to check out any u-pick raspberries fields in Wenatchee and ask what varieties they are growing. Tulameen is still my favorite berry, http://www.tallcloverfarm.com/194/raising-canes-tulameen-raspberry-is-a-juicy-choice . I don’t see why it would grown in Wenatchee.

  • Thanks for the tip on the raspberries. I used to fancy myself as someone who could grow anything attributed to my grandmother’s green thumb+the whole rest of herself. But, as time revealed, my gardening skills required more of my time than I could manage while caring for a very active 2 year old grandson with special needs.
    Your tip on raspberries being easy to propagate was like winning the lotto! Tomorrow, Maverick (my grandson and I) are on an adventure to look for raspberry seedlings or seeds. Thank you and God Bless YOU!

    • Thanks Joyce, seriously raspberries are easy to start from root cuttings, just find a friend who has a plant and there will be plant suckers all about the mother plant. Dig them up gently cute the runner root to free the plant and plant immediately in your garden. Good drainage is important.

  • Hi,

    I planted a raspberry cane 3 years ago which produced raspberries that year. But last year and this year I have gotten very few raspberries. I have lots of canes that look hardy but about 12 raspberries total for a bush that is about 12 feet wide which is amazing because it was one 18 inch cane to begin with. Anyway, after reading your top ten I think the problem may be that I have cut all of the canes to the ground during winter so everything is a first year cane? Do you suggest that I leave all the canes this year? They are a bit tangly and wild, but I will leave them if that means berries next year, any suggestions?
    Thank for your help.

    • Hi Kelli, it sounds like you may be pruning away the fruiting canes. What you could do is wait until spring, and wait to see which canes start showing budding growth, with green buds emerging. Then go and prune out the canes don’t have any green growth showing up. Those would have already been the fruiting canes from a year ago which won’t come back to produce. Hope this helps. Tom

  • Tom – have you had any problems with Asian spotted wing fruit fly? We had them for the first time this year and it was a real bummer with the raspberries which were previously so easy and productive.

    • Hi Jenny, I have not had a problem with such troublesome pests (knock on wood). My heart goes out to you as raspberries are usually one of the few things that seem to grow without much fuss or insect damage. Dang, I know little about this Asian spotted-wing fruit fly. Kind of hope I get to keep it that way. So sorry, let me know if you find in organic methods of control.

      • Being on an island may really help you here! It’s a horrible pest. Others suffered before now, so I’m lucky that it only just struck last summer. If I come up with any organic methods of control, I will definitely let you know, but there are none out there that I know of (yet). Makes the winter squashes look that much more appealing (fly can’t lay eggs through something with thick or hard skin).

        Btw, I love your blog! Your house, your garden, your decorations, wow!

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