Raspberries and blackberries are often treated as gourmet fruit because they don't ship or store well. They are easy to grow and are a desirable addition to any home garden. Summer-bearing brambles ripen right after strawberries, creating a succession of fruit crops.
Sizing Up Your Bramble Patch
The size of your planting depends on your available space and the amount of fruit desired. The following average yields are from plants that have grown to fill a 2 square foot area:
- Red raspberry: 1-2 pounds of fruit per plant
- Purple or black raspberry: 3 pounds of fruit per plant
- Blackberry: 5-7 pounds of fruit per plant
Although plants can live up to 25 years, viruses usually shorten the lifespan to 5-7 years. To ensure the success of your planting, choose virus-free plants from a reputable nursery.
Red raspberries are the first to ripen, and are one of the easiest brambles to grow. They tend to be very cold hardy and have more erect canes. The fruit is large, sweet and fragrant.
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Yellow raspberries are mutations of red raspberries and have all the features of the reds. They are even easier to grow because birds usually find the color of the berries unattractive.
Black raspberries are not as winter-hardy as red ones, but they tend to tolerate summer heat better. The thorns are stiff and the plants are prone to viral or fungal infections. The berries are seedy, but have a very intense flavor and strong aroma.
Purple raspberries are the result of a cross between reds and blacks. They are more cold hardy than the blacks and the canes are less thorny. Plants are very productive and berries have a very intense flavor.
Blackberries are less winter-hardy than raspberries. Erect types are thorny with with large, sweet berries. Semi-erect types are thornless with large, tart fruit.
Dewberries are a trailing form of blackberry and are not winter hardy. The large, wine-colored to black fruit has a distinctive flavor.