Saturday, May 5, 2012
Adventures In Gardening: Raspberries, A Lesson In Patience
From Zone 7b
I'm writing to you from a wet, humid, foggy & dimly lit NJ coast this morning and loving it! Rain, yes, we've finally been getting rain. More than 3's over the last couple of weeks. We're still upwards of 10's below normal and residents throughout the State are being asked to conserve water, but I'll take whatever we can get and my garden is loving it as well.
The Raspberries are just starting to push out what will soon be fruit. My initial harvest last year was the first week of June; we'll see what how the so far crazy weather of 2012 has affected them! I originally picked up my raspberry canes (Brandwine I believe) from a big box garden center on a whim. I planted them in the corner against a brick wall, the only space left in my tiny, heavily clay soil garden, then in zone 6. They never produced fruit, not that I was surprised, but I loved their bright green foliage that turned yellow & purple in the Autumn and so they stayed.
In 2005, I dug them up & potted them into a large, 16" container (along with potting up my few other perennials) and brought them to our new home here in zone 7. I placed the container of raspberries on our full sun front porch. And waited. Again, their foliage their saving grace. In 2007, a few berries. 3 to be exact! I was ecstatic! Every year since, my harvests have grown by leaps & bounds and have thrilled me (as well as the birds & deer) to no end. Honestly, most never make it into our home! I end up eating them right there on our front porch as I pick, still warm from the days sun.
They're at least 12 years old now and may finally need a bigger container this year as they've grown back Huge so far and shot out many new canes. I've only dealt with pests once before, last year, (teeny tiny clear little worm-like things chomping away on the under side of the foliage, making lace of the leaves) and was able to rid them just by turning the container on its' side on the lawn and hosing down the underside of the foliage with the garden hose on a powerful stream.
In ground or in a container, I've learned that Raspberries love good drainage, soil that doesn't stay overly damp for long, lots of full sun and good air circulation. I've also found them to be fairly drought & heat tolerant as well. In fact, my best year to date with more bowls full harvests than I can remember was in 2010 during one of our hottest & driest summers on record! As with any container, be sure to replenish the soil as needed each year once the level is lower than an inch from the rim of the container.
I've heard many stories of raspberries taking their time to bear fruit, even taking some years off from bearing fruit. They say, "Patience is a virtue." When it comes to Raspberries, if you have patience, you'll reap the rewards on many different levels!
What perennial (fruit, tree, shrub, flower etc.) have you bought on a whim and/or refused to give up on? Share with me in the comments below!
And don't forget to get out and see the Super Moon tonight!
Until next time...
NJ Zones 7b & 6a
New Jersey Through My Eyes