I was talking with a neighbor lady and told her we were picking abundant raspberries (in September), and she said, “What!! You’re getting raspberries now? What kind are they?”
I learned about the Heritage ever-bearing raspberry in a Miller Nursery catalog (Miller is now part of Stark Bros.). The catalog states,
“After 30 years, it still remains one of the most outstanding ever-bearing red raspberries on the market today. Heritage produces vigorous upright canes which do not require staking. The fruit is of superior quality. Berries are large, bright red, firm, and we at Miller’s recommend heritage for eating right out of the patch, freezing and/or jams and jellies. The summer crop matures here from July 1st and the fall crop begins ripening Sept. 1st and continues until frost. The fall crop is of exceptional quality, often better than the first.”
Basic Raspberry Facts
Raspberries are relatively easy to grow and with proper care can bear fruit for decades! Though raspberry bushes are naturally inclined to grow in cooler climates, the plants now come in many varieties suited to a range of planting zones.
The Heritage Ever-bearing raspberry bears a light summer crop and a much heavier fall crop.
Most raspberries are self-fertile, meaning you’ll get fruit with only one variety. They’re best pollinated by bees, and will start producing fruit a year after planting, so there is not much waiting for a crop!
All raspberries will need pruning annually. Raspberries are perennials, however it’s important to realize that their canes which bear the fruit live for only two summers. During the first year, the new green cane (primocane) grows vegetatively. The cane develops a brown bark, is dormant in winter, and during the second growing season is called a floricane. The floricane produces fruit in early to mid summer and then dies. New primocanes are produced each year, so fruit production continues year after year. It’s your job to prune out those dead canes each year.
Note: Since I really don’t like to prune, we decided to mow or bushhog them (or cut them down to 8″ with hand clippers) in mid-November once the last crop’s in. We do forfeit the next year’s early summer crop, however, we get HUGE amounts of raspberries from September 1st right up till frost!
Planting Raspberry Starts
- Raspberry plants can be purchased as dormant, bare-root plants or as potted plants. Plant bare-root transplants in the early spring as soon as the soil can be worked. Plant potted transplants in the spring after threat of frost has passed.
- Pick a site with full sun to produce the most fruit. The plant will grow in part shade, but harvests will be meager.
- Your site needs rich and well-drained soil, great air circulation and a bit of shelter. Avoid a wet area, as well as a windy spot, as raspberries do not like to stand in water nor be dried out with hot winds.
- Prepare soil with 2-3 inches of compost or aged manure a couple weeks before planting. (A good rate is about 2 ½ cubic feet of compost per 50 square feet.) Till or lightly work into the soil well before planting.
- Plant far from wild growing berries, otherwise risk the spread of pests and diseases to your garden.
- Before planting, soak the roots for an hour or two.
- Dig a hole that is roomy enough for the roots to spread.
- Whether you’re planting bare-root or potted plants, keep the crown of the plant 1 or 2 inches above the ground.
- Space red raspberry plants 3 feet apart.
- Heritage ever-bearing raspberries do not need a trellis or fence.
Well, I kind of went hog-wild, planting 12 starts 4 feet apart. It has been a challenge to keep them all picked b/c there are heavily loaded with berries from September on. We have been inviting friends to come pick which does 2 things. It is a way to give back to friends, and it keeps the bushes cleaned of over ripe and decaying berries. This insures every berry you pick is perfect!
For minimal to no weeding: Scatter out several bales of fresh straw thickly around the bases of the whole patch to keep out weeds and keep shoes free of mud when picking. You may NEVER weed if you straw heavily every several years. It also holds in moisture (and they need a good bit).
Below is our third year patch (of those original 12 plants) in late May. We cut it down to 8″ each preceding November, so there are no tangled vines to deal with and no sorting out what are old canes and new canes. That is a big relief to me!
Fresh from the raspberry patch and ready to be washed and frozen or made into jam. I think today I will just freeze them as it is getting late, and I need to get dinner ready for my crew!
Such a pretty emerald passenger! He must have liked my kitchen…he didn’t want to leave.
Just a little fun before getting to work. Meet Mr. Rasp Berry. He is my favorite redhead, and I think he said to tell you “Hello!”
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Thanks for reading!