When I headed for the raspberry patch the other evening, a bird flew out of the brambles. As much as I love raspberries, I admit I am getting tired of picking them, which I do on a daily if not twice daily basis, despite the mosquitoes. If a few birds want a snack, fine by me. After dealing with strawberry-stealing robins earlier this summer, I was afraid I would have a similar problem with the raspberries, but not so. Instead, I have been reaping quart after quart of red goodness.
I don't know why everyone doesn't grow raspberries. It's easy, it's fun, at $4 a half-pint for locally grown organic ones, it's thrifty. I planted four or five plants two years ago, last year enjoyed a pleasant harvest, but this year I have been amazed. Initially, I was picking a cereal bowlful a day, then I had to graduate to a quart bowl; for a few days I was actually picking TWO quarts a day. Now it's back to the cereal bowl and the berries themselves are getting smaller.
What do I do with all those berries? I've been eating them daily on my breakfast yogurt and freezing the rest. (Spread them on a cookie sheet, freeze, then transfer to a freezer bag - so simple.) I also made a galette and a raspberry version of this salad dressing, running the berries through my saucemaker to test the berry screen.
I chose Latham for my variety (I forget why), purchased from Jung. The canes are thornless and the fruit sets on two-year-old canes. I planted mine in an 8'x2' raised bed made of cedar, in the lawn. Raspberries can spread by sending out underground shoots. I was hoping the raised bed would discourage this, and I think it has, but the few that escape are decapitated by the mower.
Raspberry plants like sun; the shadier side of my patch bears less. As for care, all I do is prune out the spent canes after harvest, weed the bed, add some compost, mulch, and that is it. If raspberries have any serious pest problems, I have not seen them. I do keep them surrounded by poultry netting to prevent rabbit damage.
I don't know why it took me so long to grow raspberries. What's your excuse?