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Monday, October 1, 2012

Raspberry Season?

Posted by on Mon, Oct 1, 2012 at 8:55 AM

Everbearing raspberry varieties provide a late-season garden treat.
  • Goldy | The Stranger
  • Ever-bearing raspberry varieties provide a late-season garden treat.

My first foray into backyard gardening was the 12-foot row of raspberries that came with the house. We moved in in mid-September (1997), and were surprised to be picking raspberries through the end of October. We were equally surprised to find the same canes produce an early summer crop the following June.

The previous owners had planted a mono-crop of Summit, an ever-bearing (or fall-bearing) variety that fruits near the top of new canes in the late summer and early fall, and on year-old canes the following spring. I've since supplemented the row with Golden Summit and Dinkum, along with Tulameen, a summer-bearing variety (fruits only on year-old canes), to fill in the gap. Combined, we enjoy a five-month season of fresh, organic raspberries.

That said, the fall crop is normally a bit of a disappointment compared to the summer, as the ripe berries quickly mold with botrytis under Seattle's relentless rains. Not this year. So far, our unusually dry September has left the raspberries virtually botrytis-free.

It's hard to quantify, as the bulk of the raspberries are eaten right out of the garden; those pictured above went straight into my mouth, and the vast majority of the berries travel no further than the length of my daughter's arm. But this 12-foot row must produce hundreds of dollars of organic fruit a year, with relatively little input. I highly recommend growing raspberries to anybody with a sunny, well-drained spot in their garden.


Comments (37) RSS

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Max Solomon 1
our ever bearings gave up the ghost after a while. this year its the fig tree that won't quit. i grow weary of figs.
Posted by Max Solomon on October 1, 2012 at 9:09 AM · Report this
Goldy 2
@1 Raspberries tire out. You need to dig them up and replace them with new crowns every 3 to 5 years.

(Though I have to say the Golden Summit show no sign of tiring. In fact, they're gradually taking over the row.)
Posted by Goldy on October 1, 2012 at 9:17 AM · Report this
Simone 3
My parents backyard has blackberry vines/bushes and it has produced some wonderful container loads this year. Unfortunately several years ago our back neighbours (jerks) cut most of it down (the bushes/vines/trees sort of boarder the property line). Thankfully it has grown back and my parents can't see the horrible yard mess that is the neighbours anymore.
Posted by Simone on October 1, 2012 at 9:34 AM · Report this
TVDinner 4
@1: Growing weary of figs is something I envy, you lucky bastard.
Posted by TVDinner http:// on October 1, 2012 at 9:45 AM · Report this
venomlash 5
My mom planted a golden raspberry seedling a few years back. The shadier portion of the yard is now one sprawling bramble that comes alive with fruit during the summer.
Posted by venomlash on October 1, 2012 at 9:45 AM · Report this
Max Solomon 6
@4: perhaps i should amend my comment and say that i grow weary of battling fruit flies & trying to use the figs every day before they turn into moldy mush - which is less than 24 hours. i threw out a basketful this morning that i was unable to use because i went on a hike. but it certainly makes me popular with my fig-crazy neighbors.
Posted by Max Solomon on October 1, 2012 at 10:04 AM · Report this
Oy, those golden little rascals are habit forming. Red or golden, mine rarely make it to the house either. Anybody seeing spotted wing drosophila larvae on theirs? Our early crop was fine, but our late crop contains quite a bit of bonus protein.
Posted by Lonesome Cowboy Burt on October 1, 2012 at 10:06 AM · Report this
Posted by Urgutha Forka on October 1, 2012 at 10:16 AM · Report this
@6 Where do you live? I can help you out with too many figs.
Posted by elaineinballard on October 1, 2012 at 10:28 AM · Report this
@6 I also have a ridiculously huge fig tree. I've found they make great jam, if you have time, cooking them done into a syrup is awesome. I also have a tiny fruit press and I mix them with honey to make a mead, or my other project is making a fig vinegar. Basically figs are crazy high in brix and should be used for their sugars.
Posted by CbytheSea on October 1, 2012 at 10:29 AM · Report this
Pol Pot 11
I planted some Willamette Raspberries this year. They're a summer varietal. No fruit this year, so am I supposed to prune the canes or let them be till after they fruit next summer, then prune them?
Posted by Pol Pot on October 1, 2012 at 11:56 AM · Report this
So you know, the city of Seattle wants to ban non-native species, which includes your raspberries.
Posted by Mister G on October 1, 2012 at 12:06 PM · Report this
@12 that's only for public parks. They've been doing that for a while now.
Posted by CbytheSea on October 1, 2012 at 12:09 PM · Report this
#13, you're wrong. The city wants to ban non-native species everywhere. All flowers, almost all veggies, and virtually all fruit, is "non-native." And I hope you don't like Japanese maples, because they're verboten if the city gets its way.
Posted by Mister G on October 1, 2012 at 12:18 PM · Report this
Goldy 15
@11 Don't prune. This year's canes will produce fruit next summer, even has new canes are growing in their midst. When they have done fruiting, you can cut them out, leaving the strongest new canes for the next year.
Posted by Goldy on October 1, 2012 at 12:44 PM · Report this
@14 so let's be realistic for a moment. There are a couple nutters in the city who would like to see that happen. How on earth would they be able to enforce it? It's a completely silly thing to fear.
Posted by CbytheSea on October 1, 2012 at 12:46 PM · Report this
By the way, #3, blackberries are invasive and non-native. If the city gets its way, your parents will be required to remove that blackberry bush. #5, same goes for the raspberry seedling. This is all part of the city's "green" planting code, which calls for only "native" plants and aims to reduce water use.

Seattle gardens are non-compliant, but the city will take care of that. It's the "green" thing to do.
Posted by Mister G on October 1, 2012 at 12:47 PM · Report this
Goldy 18

@14 The city is considering banning new plantings of INVASIVE species. Raspberries are not invasive. Himalayan blackberry is.

Posted by Goldy on October 1, 2012 at 12:47 PM · Report this
Not just invasive species, but "non-native" species, invasive or otherwise. And you'll be required to remove anything that's invasive. Which means #3's parents' blackberries. And those raspberries that started as a seedling and are now taking over the yard.

Know anyone with ivy growing on their chimney? Gone. Invasive and non-native. All flowers are non-native. So are veggies. Bye-bye tulips, lettuce, tomatoes.

How will they enforce it? They want to start with new construction, but they also want to require anyone who's relandscaping their place to hire a city-approved landscape architect and get city approval first.

Yes, they're nutters, but they have the power to do it. This is the "green" plan for gardens, and the city council and mayor are all for it. By the way, no one can really define a "native" plant, but that won't stop them from trying.
Posted by Mister G on October 1, 2012 at 1:01 PM · Report this
It's ridiculous of course, but Seattle's city government is no stranger to ridiculous and stupid things. Their "green" gardening code has gotten the attention of the gardeners and nurseries, and maybe they'll beat it back. But make no mistake: the city of Seattle's government does not approve of flowers, vegetable gardens, lawns, fruit trees, Japanese maples, and a whole lot of other plants you see all over the place in this city.
Posted by Mister G on October 1, 2012 at 1:03 PM · Report this
Seriously, Goldy, now that you own a house I suggest you check into what the city has in store for you, and not just with respect to your garden.
Posted by Mister G on October 1, 2012 at 1:34 PM · Report this
@Mister G, you're really blowing it of proportion.
The article you linked said it'd be impossible to implement. And the author even said they weren't sure if it applied to private plants.
We all know it'd be impossible to follow through. Worrying about it is like worrying about the city passing a frown ban. You're giving way too much credit to one small non-realstic part of the city.
Posted by CbytheSea on October 1, 2012 at 1:35 PM · Report this
#22, I can't stop you from doing what most people in this city do, which is sleep walk when it comes to what their city government does. Until it affects them, at which point they say, WTF!?
Posted by Mister G on October 1, 2012 at 2:14 PM · Report this
They'll get MY gunnera when they pry it from my cold, dirty hands!
Woah, take a deep breath there Mr. G., jack-booted City Horticulturalists are not gleefully sharpening their shovels for an assault on your Peonies.
Check the follow up posts on Val Easton's blog; the whole thing is off the table "for now". And when the nursery industry is done with whoever issued that policy proposal, it will be off the table forever. Ain't gonna happen.
Hell, we can't even get English Holly banned from sale, and it's now the most common tree in Seward Park. Even trying to ban the sale of English Ivy, which the goddamn ENGLISH have been trying to rid themselves of for centuries, has turned into a futile clusterfuck.
Incidentally, this country would be a lot better off if we had thrown the damn English out a century or two sooner..but I digress...
Posted by Lonesome Cowboy Burt on October 1, 2012 at 2:30 PM · Report this
#24, the city has a well-established track record of taking things "off the table" for a while and then turning right around and ramming them through. This will be no different.

By the way, I think having a banned-sale list is the way to deal with invasives. Portland did that 10 years ago. But the city's desire to ban "non-native" plants, and to require anyone who's re-landscaping their yard to get a landscape architect to draw up a plan and submit it for approval -- those are very real, and the city is NOT going to back down. You'll see.

The worst thing about it might be that, in addition to being arrogant, the city is just plain stupid. They can't even define a "non-native" plant, but they want to ban them. This is indicative of all kinds of things the city does.
Posted by Mister G on October 1, 2012 at 3:00 PM · Report this
Since there is apparently no way to stop the City from doing what they want to do, I guess we'd all better develop a taste for Oregon Grape.

Let them eat thimbleberries!

Posted by Lonesome Cowboy Burt on October 1, 2012 at 3:31 PM · Report this
Wow...I see nutcase conspiracy theory is alive and well. The great amorphous evil of the *government* is gonna getcha!
Posted by crone on October 1, 2012 at 3:48 PM · Report this
It's no "nutcase conspiracy theory." The city government published its intention to ban "non-native" plants, require the removal of invasive species, and require everyone who's re-landscaping their yard to hire a landscape architect and get the city's approval.

After an outcry, they backed off. But that's just temporary. They said so themselves. They will be back. If there are any "nutcases," they work at city hall.
Posted by Mister G on October 1, 2012 at 6:37 PM · Report this
@28 you're right that we should be aware of out of touch plans from the city. But you need to learn how to communicate that worry in a non-chicken little way. Just sayin'.
Posted by CbytheSea on October 2, 2012 at 12:37 AM · Report this
#29, fuck you. The city has their latest idiot plan. They are NOT going away. And now you want to blame me for not being polite about their stupidity? Fuck you.
Posted by Mister G on October 2, 2012 at 11:32 AM · Report this
@30 I see I touched a nerve there.I wasn't implying you were being rude, though the fuck you part has me reconsidering it, I was simply suggesting that you pause and think about the feasibility of what a government can do. A non-native species ban is way beyond the realm of possibility that fearing is akin to giving credence. Just think of the sheer absurdity of it, once you do that you chuckle and move on.
Posted by CbytheSea on October 2, 2012 at 2:00 PM · Report this
#30, people in this city really deserve what they get. Yeah, and fuck you again. You actually want to give the city government the power to fuck with any homeowner at will. You defend it on the grounds that it somehow can't be enforced any time some twit at city hall gets pissed off at someone, and attack the person who points out how absurd the city is being. Yeah, so fuck you and the rest of the sleepwalkers in Seattle who let the city get away with all kinds of shit like this. You, and they, deserve what you get.
Posted by Mister G on October 2, 2012 at 2:25 PM · Report this
@32 If you despise Seattle so much, why do you live here?
Posted by Curious Jorge on October 2, 2012 at 2:52 PM · Report this
I like Seattle, but I despise the city government. Oh, and fuck you.
Posted by Mister G on October 2, 2012 at 2:59 PM · Report this
You don't seem to think much of the citizenry either...what is it about the city you like?

Oh, and thank you too!
Posted by Bi Curious Jorge on October 2, 2012 at 3:29 PM · Report this
It's got good views of Puget Sound. It's got the usual city amenities. The summers aren't too hot, and it's not far from the places I like to spend my vacation time. And fortunately, I live in a neighborhood that the city government hasn't fucked with too much. But, generally speaking, anything good about Seattle exists in spite of its city government.

And of all the places I've lived, Seattle has by far the lowest level of citizen awareness of, and challenges to, its corrupt local government. Even the people in Boston and Chicago give their corrupt local governments more grief than people here do. In Seattle, the average voter is a sleepwalker. It's phenomenal.

Posted by Mister G on October 2, 2012 at 3:46 PM · Report this
Is "fuck you" your typical response when you realize you're not going to convince someone? What are you, 15? Several commenters had an open enough mind to actually read the link you gave them. God forbid people should decide for themselves rather than letting you tell them what to think. And nobody on the internet gives two shits whether some random pseudonymic commenter tells them "fuck you." Get off the computer and get some sunshine and fresh air for chrissakes, and quit wasting your life arguing with the internet.
Posted by Random pseudonymic commenter on October 3, 2012 at 12:34 PM · Report this

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