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Aug 102012
 

Raspberries are among the most popular and easy to grow small fruits for Idaho gardeners. Depending on the variety, the plants adapt well to a range of soil conditions and can be quite cold hardy. These popular fruits can be eaten fresh or made into jams, jellies, syrups, compotes, pastries, juices, and many other foods. Besides their excellent flavor, raspberries provide vitamin A, vitamin C, and dietary minerals. You can choose varieties that produce a single heavy crop in late spring to mid summer or two smaller crops in late spring to mid summer and again in late summer or early fall.

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Growing Raspberries and Blackberries in the Inland Northwest and Intermountain West

All Raspberries

Age to maturity: 3 to 4 years
Productive life: 8 -12 years or more
Optimum pH: 6.2 to 6.8

Black Raspberries

Expected yield: 2.5 to 3 pounds per hill
Hardiness: -5 to -10° F
Plant spacing: 3 feet apart in rows 8 to 10 feet apart

Purple Raspberries

Expected yield: 3 to 4 pounds per hill
Hardiness: -15 to – 20° F
Plant spacing: 3 feet apart in rows 8 to 10 feet apart

Red & Yellow Raspberries

Expected yield: 2 to 3 pounds per hill
Hardiness: -20 to – 25° F
Plant spacing:

  • Summer-bearing: 2 to3 feet apart in rows 8 to 10 feet apart
  • Fall-bearing: 2 feet apart in rows 10 feet apart

Raspberries come in four colors: red, yellow, back, and purple. Red and yellow raspberries are the same species, differing only in color, and are the most cold hardy of the brambles. A few varieties tolerate winter temperatures of -20 to -25 °F and many are hardy to -20 °F. Black raspberries belong to a different species and can be injured by temperatures between -5 and -10 °F. Purple raspberries are crosses between red and black raspberries. They are very vigorous, highly productive, and fall somewhere between red and black raspberries in cold hardiness. In Idaho trials, purple raspberries survived winter temperatures of -20 °F with no injury.

Raspberries produce either one or two crops of fruit each year. Summer-bearing raspberries produce a single crop of fruit beginning in late spring to mid summer. Fall-bearing (also known as everbearing or primocane-bearing) raspberries produce a crop in late spring to early summer and another crop in late summer or early fall. Red and yellow raspberries may be either summer- or fall-bearing. All black and purple raspberries are summer-bearing, but some varieties may develop terminal fruits on the first-year canes (primocanes) during exceptionally long, warm growing seasons. By growing several varieties, you can enjoy fresh berries from late spring through late fall.

Raspberries grow best on deep, well drained soils. Although raspberries tolerate a relatively wide range of soil pH values, wet soils can create serious problems with root rot diseases. Red and yellow raspberries are especially susceptible to poor drainage and root rot. Some black and purple varieties are less susceptible. If you have a heavy-textured or otherwise poorly drained soil, grow your raspberries on beds at least 12 inches high and three to four feet wide. For small beds where heavy soils are present, consider mixing sand into the soil in the beds. Do not apply organic mulches to heavy or poorly-drained soils; doing so increases problems associated with cold, wet soils.

 August 10, 2012