Yesterday was Doug’s and my 32nd anniversary. It is serendipitous that our anniversary is also Earth Day, but it makes a fantastic reminder of the values that drew us together in the first place. This year we celebrated by planting our raspberry patch.
According to Growing Raspberries in Wisconsin, “with proper care and normal weather conditions” this gently 62-foot curving row could be offering its berry bounty for the next 15 years. With proper care, I’m optimistic that marriage will continue to share some of the raspberries finer features.
I’m hoping for both the berries and the marriage to remain glossy and bright with good flavor, if somewhat acid. I’m hoping for winter hardiness and few prickles.
We’ve been working on this patch of ground for over a year. We rototilled it, worked in composted horse manure then planted two green manure crops: buckwheat last summer and winter rye in the fall.
Last Tuesday we rototilled it lightly again and mulched it under the hay that I gathered last fall from the road-edge cutting of our somewhat overenthusiastic township cutting mowing crew.
We ordered our plants from Ag Resource in Detroit Lakes, MN. They arrived in great condition on Tuesday. You can email them here.
We decided to start with 3 cultivars, 10 plants each.
Autumn Bliss, which bears large, oval-conical soft fruit ranging from dull red to purplish gray with very good flavor. It’s considered the standard for fall-bearing raspberries in Wisconsin. The fruit is soft and somewhat crumbly, but it should have bigger yields and also start bearing three weeks before the raspberry type we planted next to it — Heritage.
Heritage produces firm medium size fruit in late August in southern Wisconsin. According to a class I took last year at Michael Fields Agricultural Institute (Berry’licious taught by Janet Gamble, MFAI Farm and Food Program Director), Heritage will bear fruit in the first year, and they will fruit again in the spring on the buds below the ones that fruited the previous fall. This is a variety that can be both summer and fall bearing, depending on how your prune it. So I’m excited about this variety.
Nova, which is an earlier summer-bearing plant which produces medium large, bright red fruit that is somewhat acid. It has good winter hardiness, few prickles and above-average yields in Wisconsin.
We have a lot to learn from our first raspberry row. But that’s one of the things I love about gardening and marriage. They both take a lot of work and both continue to yield worthwhile rewards over time.