Growing black raspberries

Newly planted canes of black raspberry-varieties are best cut off at ground level after planting. Young canes produced during the first growing year are cut back during the summer to 50-75 cm (20-30”) high to stimulate the growth of side-shoots. The following late winter or early spring these are also cut back to leave two to six buds, depending on the strength of the cane; the stronger shoots can support more buds. Fruiting branches are produced from these buds.

It is not necessary to provide support for black raspberries, but they can be tied in for convenience. In the second and subsequent years, the primary canes should be limited to four per stool, preferably by early selection or during the post-harvest clean up. Tipping off the main shoots and cutting back of the sideshoots continues each year.

Propagation

Raspberries can be easily propagated from suckers which spring up at or near the base of the parent plant. This is a somewhat risky business, though, .because if the parent plants are not absolutely healthy, the newly propagated canes will be diseased from the start. To avoid all risk, you should not propagate new canes from your own fruiting stock, but buy in fresh certified virus-free stock from a reputable source. If you do want to propagate new canes from your own stock, autumn is the best time to do so. Gently loosen the rooted suckers which have grown during the season with a fork and sever them from the parent plant. The suckers should have strong, well-developed root systems: discard those without much root and those which have weak or spindly growth. Plant the suckers out in their permanent positions and immediately cut them back to 60 cm (2’) above ground. The following late winter or early spring, cut the canes back again, to a strong bud about 30 cm (1’) above ground. The American black raspberry is propagated by tip layering. Wait until the side branches are long enough to touch the ground without snapping; this is usually in early to mid-summer. Dig out a 15 cm (6”) deep hole for each branch you are tip layering; the holes should have side slopes of about 45 . If the soil is very heavy, it is best to put a little bit of moist peat mixed with sand into the bottom of the hole; this will encourage root formation. Then gently place the tip of the branch into the hole, against the sloping side, so that about 15 cm (6”) of cane is buried. Backfill with soil and tread down firmly. Peg the cane where it enters the soil with a metal or wooden peg, to keep it from springing up.

The following autumn, after cropping is finished, sever the rooted cane from the parent plant with a sharp spade, and transplant it to its permanent position.

Harvesting

The early fruiting varieties should be ready for harvesting early in mid- summer, and should continue for a period of about three weeks. These are overlapped by the maincrop varieties, and, lastly, the autumn-fruiting types which can be picked until the first frosts of autumn. For all varieties, the harvesting procedure is the same. Pick the berries in dry weather, because raspberries will very quickly rot when picked wet. Raspberries, particularly the Mailing varieties, have brittle fruiting laterals, so it is best to support the lateral with one hand while you pick the fruit off with the other.

The fruit does not ripen all at once, so inspect the canes every other day for fully ripe berries. Constant picking reduces the risk of over-ripe fruit going rotten and spreading disease. Normally, the fruit is picked without the central core, or plug. However, if you have exceptionally large, first class berries, you can pick them with the plug and stalk intact, for serving as dessert. Cut the stalks with scissors.

When harvesting, put the fruit into several small punnets rather than one large basket, so the berries are not crushed by their own weight.

Raspberries do not keep for very long, so cat or preserve them quickly.

Exhibition tips

Exhibiting raspberries is very straightforward. Thirty is the usual number of fruit required, all of the same variety. Because they are so easily crushed, pick the fruit at the last possible moment before the show. Select about twice the number needed, so that you will have replacement fruit, should you need them. Always pick raspberries for show purposes with the stalk intact. In taking them to the show, make sure the berries are not crushed by their own weight; pack them in a single layer in a box, and lightly cover with tissue paper. At the show, place them as neatly as possible on a plate.

According to the Royal Horticultural Society Show Handbook, the maximum number of points for raspberries is twelve, and the judges will look for large, ripe fruit in good condition and free from blemish. Do not exhibit small, unripe or over-ripe fruit, or fruit without stalks.

Varieties:

Early

Mailing Promise: first raspberry to fruit in early summer; good flavour and strong growth (to 2.1 m (7’)), but takes a couple of years to settle down; frost-resistant but fruit susceptible to botrytis; large, good for jam, but unsuitable for freezing.

Mailing Exploit: more vigorous than Mailing Promise and probably more widely planted; fruit very large but tends to be crumbly, very fine flavoured; thrives in a wide range of soils. Glen Cova: medium-sized berry; excellent for bottling or freezing; crops start early and continue over several weeks with heavy mid-season yield; heavier cropper than Malling Promise. Mailing Jezvel: second early; medium-sized, dark red fruit, somewhat hidden by leaves curling over it; flavour excellent; somewhat frost and botrytis resistant; most popular raspberry for general use; growth compact and less liable to wind damage.

Mid-season

Lloyd George (New Zealand Strain): original Lloyd George strain decimated by virus, but replaced by clean stocks from New Zealand; best flavoured raspberry, but difficult to grow well; crops early, mid-season, and again on tips of young canes in autumn; very prone to viral infection and may need replacing after a few years; fruit excellent for jam-making. Mailing Orion: recent introduction; fruit medium large and round; flavour good; consistently heavy cropper over long period of time; fruit excellent for freezing.

Phyllis King: old variety recently reintroduced; berries large, firm and well flavoured.

Mailing ‘M’: mid- to late variety with fruit excellent for bottling. Mailing Delight: recently introduced heavy cropper with large long berries; not suitable for freezing.

Golden Everest: yellow-fruited variety with mild, delicious flavour; fruits over a long season on both old and young canes.

Late

Norfolk Giant: crops a week later than maincrop; fruit of good flavour and texture, but a bit acid for dessert; tall-growing variety, susceptible to wind damage, frost damage and virus; particularly good for jam-making and bottling or freezing.

Mailing Admiral: recent introduction; heavier cropper than Norfolk Giant; ideal for bottling and freezing.

Autumn

September: American variety with very firm, well-flavoured fruit; for autumn cropping, canes must be cut to ground level in winter or early spring; growth thick and vigorous but unsuitable for colder northern districts; will crop well on dry soils and in dry seasons.

Zeva: Swiss variety with unusually large fruit; yields well in first year of cropping; crops from mid-summer until late autumn, with heaviest crop in autumn.

Sceptre: vigorous variety, giving high autumn yields under most conditions.

Heritage: most vigorous of autumn-fruiting varieties; sturdy, self-supporting canes, fruit first class with good flavour.

Black raspberries

Blackie: cross between thorny blackberry and raspberry; limited supplies available.

29. August 2013 by admin
Categories: Fruit Gardening, Uncategorized, Vegetable Gardening | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Growing black raspberries

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