[NAFEX] crabapples, haskaps, sea buckthorn, currants

Ginda Fisher list at ginda.us
Fri Sep 19 20:34:43 EDT 2008

On Sep 9, 2008, at 3:38 PM, Melissa Kacalanos wrote:
. . .
> Raspberries are on our list already. I've grown these
> before, and the only difficulty seemed to be stopping
> them from taking over the garden. I might plant them
> behind some sort of barrier in the soil this time.
> What are the tastiest varieties? We like flavors that
> are very distinctive, like a nice strong raspberry
> fragrance, and sweetness balanced by nice tartness.
> There are wild black raspberries in the backyard
> already, but I've eaten tastier cultivated ones.
> . . .
> Melissa

Nobody replied, so I'll take a shot, although I am by no means an  

There are three or four colors of raspberries:  Black, Red, Yellow,  
and maybe Purple, which is somewhere between black and red.  The  
Black/Purple ones have the most distinctive flavor.  I don't grow  
them because I've read they are subject to yellow rust, and there are  
wild black berries all around that are infected with yellow rust.   
The red and yellow raspberries are supposedly immune, and my red ones  
certainly appear to be so.  I don't think you'd care for yellow  
raspberries.  In my opinion they lack acid balance, and are bland and  
dull, although very sweet.  (Also, the bees like to eat the fruits,  
so they are harder to harvest.  I can pick red raspberries while the  
bees are working the blossoms, and we never compete.  Much simpler.)

Then, raspberries come in summer bearing and ever-bearing.  Summer  
bearing raspberries bear only on last year's canes.  Ever bearing  
raspberries will do that if you leave the canes over the winter, but  
they also bear in the fall on this year's canes.  Unlike my apricot  
which bears when I am away in August (that is, if the critters don't  
take all the unripe fruit) my ever bearing raspberries bear in July  
and again in September, until the killing frost.  The fall season is  
at its peak right now.  I'm harvesting about half a cup a day from my  
10' row in partial sun.

As for tastiness of red raspberries:  The usual wisdom is that Taylor  
and Caroline have the best flavor among summer and ever-bearing  
varieties, respectively.  I haven't tried either, although I just  
planted some Caroline this spring.  I bought my mature raspberries  
from a small backyard nursery where my choice in red raspberries was  
between Heritage and Fall Red.  Heritage is sort of the standard to  
which everything is compared, but I wasn't wild about it.  I felt it  
wasn't as rich in flavor as the Fall Red, and had a slight woodiness  
to it.  It wasn't just that crop, either - I've noticed the same  
minor off-flavor in other Heritage Raspberries.

I've been very happy with Fall Red.  It is easy to maintain in its  
10' x 3' row.  It hasn't had many problems with disease or insects.   
I do have to be fairly proactive about removing any cane damaged by  
cane borer - I lost a whole season when I let cane-borers build up.   
But they are fairly easy to control by just removing damaged canes  
below the point of damage, with clippers.  I don't think they've ever  
needed to be sprayed.  I mulch them heavily each fall with shredded  
leaves (mown from my lawn) and throw the extra corn gluten lawn stuff  
on them after feeding the lawn in the spring.  They seem to like a  
lot of nitrogen to go with their decaying leaves.  That, plus pruning  
and picking is about all the effort they need.

I like the Nourse Berry Farm catalog because it will say which of the  
ones they sell taste better or worse than the others.


eastern MA, zone 6

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