It may seem unusual to grow raspberries in your home garden when living in the “raspberry capital” of Canada but the enjoyment of picking your own ripe and juicy, chemical free red raspberries is an unparalleled gardening pleasure. Raspberries are a relatively disease and bug free crop which grows abundantly throughout the province from Northern BC to the Lower Mainland. Another rewarding member of the Rubus family easy to grow even in a small vegetable garden.
Red raspberries have antioxidant effects that play a minor role in the killing
of stomach and colon cancer cells ~ Wikipedia
We have always had a row or two of raspberries – oftentimes harvesting twice in a year for fresh eating for the family and if we are lucky with a few berries left over to make delicious raspberry jam. Once the brambles are planted, besides a simple annual pruning, they can be pretty much left to themselves. In a healthy garden raspberries should grow for 10 to 15 years – a great return on your time and limited effort.
Red Raspberry Varieties to Grow
Red raspberry canes are easy to grow as they are perennial and as mentioned grow abundantly throughout the province in varying climates. It is important when it comes time to plant to buy canes from a local nursery as your canes should be winter hardy for your growing area. We purchased a variety called Heritage which grows 6 feet tall so the row is safely planted at the bottom of the garden.
How & Where to Grow Raspberries
- Choose a sunny space, although canes will tolerate part shade
- Plant out-of-the-way to let the canes grow without shading other plants
- Raised beds were made so the canes are not sitting in moist soil
- A trench was dug and filled with compost and garden soil
- Plant canes in the Fall to give them time to set root; protect with mulch over winter
- New canes may not flower or produce fruit until the second year
- Mulch in Spring and Fall with organic compost
- Rich compost helps regulate soil temperature and moisture
Raspberry Planting Instructions (from package label)
Location: full sun
- Depth to plant 6″
- Canes apart : 30″
- Rows apart : 8′
- The instructions suggested soaking the roots in a bucket of warm water for 4 hours before planting
- Water well the first few weeds after planting
- Do not allow to dry out during fruiting periods
- For a late summer crop, cut back canes partly after fruiting
- In the Fall prune out the top third of the cane that produced fruit
Diseases of Raspberry plants
- I have grown raspberries for many years and have not had a problem with insects or diseases and if you have compost rich soil and a healthy garden environment your raspberry canes should grow vigorously
- Raspberries and members of the nightshade family do not do well planted together because of diseases like wilt and blight but do well planted with chives and garlic or herbs sage and basil
In closing, raspberries are another hardy, easy to grow, and sweetly delicious addition to your home garden. Check out the nutrient information on this low-calorie, low cholesterol fruit. Like most berries, it is an excellent source of Vitamin C and fiber with lots of antioxidants In light of the toxicity of chemicals used on this fruit when commercially grown it is well worth the effort to plant a few canes for yourself. If you are unable to grow your own chemical free raspberries it is highly recommended that only organic berries be purchased at a local Farmers Market so you can chat with the grower and ask what, if any, chemicals have been used on the crop. Another not very demanding fruit which will give delight to your family for years.
Chemicals & the Environment
Quite an array of chemicals are used on commercial raspberry crops such as fumigants, fungicides, herbicides, etc.
Weed control Chemicals Used to spray on commercial red raspberries:
- AimEC 2, 3, Bonanza 400 / 480, Casaron, Chateau WDG4, Dacthal W-75, Dual II Magnum, Devrinol, Glyphosate, Goal 2XL, Gramoxone, Lontrel 360, Nine-T, Poast Ultra, Princep, Rival DF / EC, Simazine 80, WPSinbar, Simadex, Stryke 4G, Treflan ED, Venture, Venture L3,, 50DF 3
Link: Skimmerhorn Winery, Creston, B.C.
Links and References
- “The Self Sufficient Gardener” by John Seymour, Dorling Kindersley 1978
- “Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening”, Rodale 1977
- The No Work Garden book, Ruth Stout, Bantam Books, 1971
- Fun Facts about raspberries
- Pacific Northwest Pscheidt, J.W., and Ocamb, C.M., senior editors. 2015. Pacific Northwest Plant Disease Management Handbook [online]. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University
- Pesticides: Endangered Species Protection Plan from US EPA
- How to dispose of chemicals
- Not recommended: Weed control for Raspberry & Strawberry