When I was a little girl, a yearly ritual was when my Mother took us all out to hunt for blackcaps. Blackcaps are those delicious little wild raspberries that pop up everywhere.
Blackcaps like sun and usually grow on the edge of the woods. Horses and cattle eat berry plants, so they usually aren’t in the pasture.
We always took the dogs because it could be dangerous if you ran into rattlesnakes – which it seemed we always did. The dogs would usually spot them before we got near and a few barks would chase them off. But if you found a nice patch and got separated from Mom and the dogs, well, you better look down.
I’ve had ever-bearing raspberries for many years. I even dug up some of my plants when I was forced to move over here. And there is a little patch of blackcaps on a wayward part of this property.
Blackcaps and raspberries don’t mix, so when you’re making your layout, remember that you’ll need to keep them at least 300′ apart. That said, you will probably get them in your raspberry patch anyway, because the birds like to eat both and will transplant the blackcap seeds to your raspberry patch.
I am a lazy gardener; there is always lots to do on a homestead. On my homestead I planted them in an out of the way spot with sun, harvested the berries throughout the season (usually one large crop in late June and sporadically thereafter) and then just mowed them down in the fall.
The lady who had this place before me had raspberries too, but she got old and the grandkids just mowed over her whole garden every year trying to kill them and everything else. Well, I planted mine along her fence line and also planted hers that I could salvage.
Now I have a fence line of raspberries that I have to mess with – but this place is way smaller and I have more time now. But somehow time seems to be going faster – or I am going slower. The thought behind putting them by is fence is that you can tie them up and put bird netting over them if desired. I have found that to be too much work.
Raspberries are technically biennials. However, everbearing raspberries are a bit different.
Everbearers fruit twice on the same cane. These canes will fruit at the tip during the fall and then bear again the following spring farther down the canes. If one large crop is desired, cut the canes back to the ground after the fall crop. This will result in a single, large crop the following fall.
Not what I have found to be true with my berries, but what the experts say.
This year in Minnesota we seemed to have gone from winter to summer in 2 weeks! So into the raspberry patch I go.
How To Prune Raspberries
They are just beginning to leaf out and many haven’t yet, but I wanted to get some of the young ones back in line so that I don’t run over them with my garden tractor.
So here is the down and dirty of raspberries:
- They spread on runners. With a bad winter they will often not leaf out totally, but come back from the root stock like many roses did this year.
- Move the babies back in line and cut out the old dead canes.
- Watering in good and mulching will really help your survival rate.
- Don’t get the bright idea (I tried already and it didn’t work.) to lay plastic down in the aisle to keep the berries in place. You’ll just lose your babies and have a much thinner patch of berries.
- You can tell blackcaps from raspberries as they grow. Blackcaps will have more arching canes that will touch the ground, root and make more blackcaps. The canes are also slightly reddish compared to the everbearing canes. PULL THEM OUT!
Mine have already started to blossom in this heat. It only takes 4-6 weeks from blossoming to the first berries.
I have been thinking of commenting on berries. They grow so well here. I have never heard what you described the experts say about fruiting further down the cane later. My original patch of July bearing raspberries (bear on 2nd year growth) is descended from plants I got 35 years ago and have taken with me to various locations. I have new patches of reds that I cut halfway down in the fall and get a summer crop and fall crop on the new growth. I also last year bought a thornless red and it is growing nicely. Also 3rd year on some yellow and black raspberries. I gave some red raspberry starts to a neighbor of my son who only had yellow and she surprised me with giving some of her yellow to me. I don’t know if the yellows are the same variety. Will have to watch and see. So have at least 5 kinds spread in all different places in the yard. Had hopes to get the largest patch redone but do not think it is going to happen thus year. Berries are wonderful.
Really nice article and pictures! I enjoyed learning about raspberries and didn’t realize they were so much work.