Rasp­berry the king of soft fruit

Bray People - - LIFESTYLE - A N D R E W C O L LY E R ’ S Prac­ti­cal Gar­den­ing TASK OF THE WEEK PLANT OF THE WEEK

FOR me rasp­ber­ries are the kings of soft fruit. We tend to shower our ado­ra­tion much more on straw­ber­ries than rasp­ber­ries maybe as they are seen as the her­ald that sum­mer is of­fi­cially here as much for their flavour. A shiny red straw­berry is with­out doubt a tempt­ing propo­si­tion when com­pared to the slightly dull bloom of a rasp­berry but for flavour and ver­sa­til­ity for me the rasp­berry wins hands down.

There are two types of rasp­berry, sum­mer fruit­ing and au­tumn fruit­ing. A com­bi­na­tion of plant­ing both types can pro­vide fresh fruit from July un­til Oc­to­ber. Even a few plants will keep you sup­plied for a few weeks and rasp­ber­ries can also be sucess­fully grown in pots and con­tain­ers. It is not only the fruits that are har­vested as for cen­turies rasp­berry leaves have been used in hot drink teas and in­fu­sions. Rasp­ber­ries are part of the rose fam­ily, rosaceae, as are straw­ber­ries. They are even more closely re­lated to the black- berry and share the same generic group of Rubus. Rasp­ber­ries are be­lieved to have orig­i­nally been na­tive to Eastern Asia but have been wide­spread across Europe from the Pa­le­olithic times.

There are dif­fer­ent se­lected named va­ri­eties for sum­mer and au­tumn fruit­ing plants. The sum­mer fruit­ing ‘Malling Jewel’ is an old va­ri­ety, not quite Pa­le­olithic, and is hard to beat still. Malling Leo and Glen Am­ple are also ex­cel­lent sum­mer fruiters. Au­tumn Bliss is prob­a­bly the most pop­u­lar au­tumn va­ri­ety and the yel­low coloured fruit of Falls Gold is also much loved.

Along with their dif­fer­ent fruit­ing times sum­mer and au­tumn rasp­ber­ries have dif­fer­ent prun­ing times and meth­ods. Sum­mer fruit­ing types should have their fruit­ing wood cut com­pletely to the ground, no stubs, once they have fin­ished fruit­ing. This will prob­a­bly be from now on­wards. New shoots will have been grow­ing dur­ing sum­mer and the strong­est six to eight of these should be re­tained while thin­ning out the weak ones again back to the ground. These new stems will fruit again next sum­mer.

Au­tumn va­ri­eties will be fruit­ing soon if not al­ready. These should be cut back to the ground in Fe­bru­ary. When the new shoots ap­pear in spring se­lect the strong­est six to eight and re­move the rest. There may be ad­di­tional new shoot growth dur­ing the sum­mer and these should also be re­moved to leave the se­lected six to eight stems un­clut­tered.

Rasp­ber­ries, both types, are best given some sup­port. This can be done with bam­boo canes and wire cre­at­ing a frame work around each plant or by con­struct­ing a post and wire sys­tem that runs for the length of a row if you have mul­ti­ple plants. Rasp­ber­ries are also suc­cess­ful fan trained against a wall. Rasp­ber­ries like a fer­tile slightly acidic soil so may strug­gle on soils with a higher ph value. A feed of sul­phate of iron is of­ten enough to keep them happy on such so­lis. The like to be kept moist but not wa­ter­logged and like a shel­tered sunny spot but they don’t crave hot weather so places like Ire­land and Scot­land tend to be ideal for them.

They are best planted in the win­ter when they are avail­able bare­rooted and there­fore much cheaper to buy. Rasp­ber­ries have a ten­dency to send out run­ners. These need to be dug up to con­trol the core plant but can be used as ad­di­tional stock if re­planted. When plant­ing in­cor­po­rate well rot­ted ma­nure or com­post and a slow re­lease fer­tiliser like blood , fish and bone.Space at about two feet apart and four feet be­tween rows if you are do­ing so.

Mulch each year with com­post and 30 grams of blood, fish and bone in March. In pots use at least an eigh­teen inch con­tainer and fill with a soil based com­post. Feed reg­u­larly with an er­i­ca­ceous liq­uid feed every three weeks from April to septem­ber. Prune as with open ground grown plants.

Pick fruit or check fruit daily and pro­tect from birds with net­ting.

Rasp­berry ‘Fall Gold’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.