The raspberries in my garden are crazy this year! I hope they are abundant in your garden as well. I have been picking every day and am so thankful for all the berries I now have in my freezer. I think some of the success is due to increased regular watering - they are on a soaker hose and I run it for 3 hours every other day. But, I think the greatest reason for the size and abundance of the crop is due to the spring pruning. A special thanks to the "garden gals" who came over this spring and helped to prune.
I have divided my red raspberry patch into two parts, the north side and the south side, with about an 2 foot wide path separating the two parts. The patch is 8 feet wide and 20 feet long. This spring, I decided to try an experiment to see what pruning method would produce larger berries. In the past few years, the berries have been the (very disappointing) size of a small marble. The ones in the grocery store and in my friends gardens are much larger! Size matters! It's no fun to be picking pea sized raspberries- there are so many to pick and they fall out of your hand. But the luscious large ones- ooh what a difference!
The north side I pruned all the canes to knee height (about 16 inches) and then thinned them out to approximately one cane every 4- 6 inches. This type of pruning should produce later berries, a single crop of beautiful large red berries. Most of the canes were not tied because they were too short.
On the south side, our "garden gals" garden club pruned most stems to 3-4 feet high and then thinned them to 6 inches apart. All the canes were tied to the line to stabilize the canes. Tying prevents loss of fruit buds during windy spring weather.
Now, I have lots of raspberries and LARGER ones on the south side. The berries are at the top of the plants -since the primocanes were pruned to 3-4 feet. As expected, the north side has produced very few berries and the ones that are growing are way down low- that's because all the canes were cut the same length- short. These berries are very small as well.
I am so glad that we took the time to prune the raspberries the correct way this year. Already, I have several bags in the freezer! I will you updated on how the north side berries do- once they start producing.
How do you prune your berries? Do you tie them up? Do you thin??