February 10, 2005 at 8:33 a.m.
At the Bonanza Saturday, March 5, at the Maranatha Church, Rod Elmstrand and I will be teaching a class on growing raspberries. Rod is the Regional Extension Director at Mora. He also owns a pick your own strawberry and blueberry operation west of North Branch.
We will discuss preparing for raising raspberries as well as insect and disease control. I have raised raspberries for many years and will share with you some of my success and failures.
If you were at past Bonanzas, you should have received an invitation with a schedule of activities and classes. Pre-registration is encouraged to guarantee your class choices. Class sizes are limited and will be filled as registrations are received.
This is the third year that we will be taking orders for bare-root plants. We will be selling raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and for the first time, asparagus crowns. All plants will be paid for when ordered and you will be contacted in the spring for pick up when the plants arrive (late April, early May). There should be an order form in the pre-registration brochure. We will also be taking orders at the Bonanza and other up-coming events as long as our supply lasts.
The varieties of raspberry plants we are taking orders for are Heritage and Killarney. Both varieties were developed in Minnesota. Because we are able to get bare root plants, we are able to sell them at a very reasonable cost. They will be sold in bundles of 25 plants.
Killarney is a quite new Minnesota variety. It is termed “summerbearing,” which means they start bearing in early July and continue for about three weeks, depending on the weather. They are much like Boyne, which is an old standby, but with larger and firmer fruit. The canes are short to medium and are spiny with lots of suckers. They are very hardy even in our unpredictable winters. Since they yield very well and tend to bear in clusters, the canes may weight down if not supported.
Care of summer bearing varieties should include keeping the area clean throughout the life of the patch. Failure to do this allows the canes to grow all over the patch as well as the weeds. This results in competition for moisture and nutrients, and the berries will be smaller and inferior.
Pruning summer berries should be done in early spring. Remove dead canes and for an unsupported patch, prune back to about 3 feet tall. If you use supports, you may still want to prune them back to about 4-feet to make them easier to handle. If you prune too low, the plants will bush out and put their energy into that growth instead of the fruit.
The most popular everbearing raspberry is the Heritage. This variety is high yielding with quite large, firm berries that are somewhat dry. In fact, during very hot and sunny weather some of the berries may develop sun scald. This is a condition where the berry will lose its pigment and turn whitish colored. I believe this is due to the berries being more dry. I also believe this variety is worth the inconvenience. There are other varieties of raspberries, but I mentioned these two because they are the varieties we will be selling.
There is a great deal of misunderstanding as to what is meant by an “everbearing” raspberry. They are also referred to as “fall bearing.” This refers to a plant that actually produces two crops––one in summer on the old canes and one in the fall on the new canes. The summer crop is produced in July and the fall crop begins to ripen around the end of August (depending on the weather) and continues until frost. The canes that produced the summer crop can be cut back to the ground. They will not produce again and usually die. The canes that produced in the fall can be cut back slightly and left to produce next summer. I cut some of my everbearing back to about 4 inches tall after the ground freezes. This will only give me a fall crop next year on those plants. The advantages include that I don’t have to prune them and there is less chance of insects or disease in the fall. Another reason is that since the Heritage grows so tall, they tend to lodge in the ground after heavy snow if they are not staked. The disadvantage to doing this is that if we have an early frost it will be a short harvest season.
If you have not attended our Bonanza is the past and would like to, or you would like to order plants and would like some more information, call the Extension Office at 651-674-4417.
Chisago County Master Gardeners present the 7th annual Spring Gardening Bonanza, March 5, from 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m., at Maranatha Church, 24799 Forest Blvd NE, Forest Lake.
This year’s featured speakers:
•Deb Brown, U of M Extension Horticulturist, radio and newspaper gardener extraordinaire
•Chuck Levine, gardener and author
Classes on everything from bees, to native plants, berries of all kinds, wildlife and how to live with them, vegetables and so much more, for everyone from beginners to experienced gardeners.
The Chisago County Master Gardeners will be available for questions on diseases, compost, worms, buckthorn and other invasive nuisances, trees, shrubs, perennials and other gardening topics. We also have a variety of vendors you can visit at our Garden Marketplace. All this for only $10 with an optional box lunch for an additional $5 if you register by February 23.
For more information call 651-674-4417 or www.extension.umn.edu/ county/chisago. We look forward to seeing you there.
Commenting has been disabled for this item.