If you have read previous posts you know that we only grow ”Fall” or “Everbearing” type raspberries.  If not click here for a discussion of the differences and why we only recommend these.   Raspberries are an excellent and profitable crop for most parts of New Mexico.  The basic difference on our recommendations is when they start to produce and quantity per foot of row.  We grow these as a row and keep it to about 12-16” wide at the bottom. This gives a row 30-40” wide at the top or picking area.  If left to grow wider it becomes cumbersome to harvest, so dig any suckers out that are past this area and replant to fill in bare spots in the row.

This year’s early and warm spring was definitely a boost to the raspberries.  Our first berries on Polana were July 4th, Autumn Britten July 10th and Polka July 15th.  This is approximately 3 and in some cases 4 weeks early! 

Autumn Britten – good and early- any location

Heritage – an older variety, sturdy and consistent starting later than Polana or Carolyn

Carolyn – Interchangeable with Polana south of I-40 Albuquerque, Los Lunas, Belen

Polana – Best north of I-40 Santa Fe, Cedar Crest, Taos, Estancia      Available

Polka – Smaller sturdier canes flavor similar to Polana,   I-40 area and northern climates     Available

Anne – Consistent yellow raspberry, slightly less production than reds

Fall Gold – Same as Anne, good all areas     Available

The size plant is also a determining factor in getting a good start.  Tissue culture plants are often promoted as disease- free perfect clones and they are.  However they are usually very small, greenhouse grown with minimal root development in 2” peat pots.  If you do keep them alive you will lose at least a year in getting them established.  They do not field plant and adapt well to our conditions.  If you are purchasing bare-root get a 2 year plant not 1 year or else buy a minimum 1 gallon container plant.  These will have the root development to stand the transplanting process. 

One of the debates in growing raspberries is whether or not to use a general or “high” Nitrogen fertilizer on them. One group says you shouldn’t use as this promotes leafy plant growth but not berries which need potassium.  The other group says early fertilization with Nitrogen gives better plant growth and a larger plant with more canes will provide more fruit.  We tend to agree with the later.  I feel the bigger and better shape our plants are in, the better total yield will be.  Also I think this helps to keep production up during hot periods.  But probably the biggest benefit is a taller plant means less bending to harvest and I’m all for that!

We recommend fertilizing using an OMRI listed liquid fish based solution and should continue from the end of April through the end of June.  When you start seeing flowers is the time to quit Nitrogen application.  We then recommend a 2” layer of compost be added in the winter after you have cut the canes down.  This allows the winter snows and rains to help soak it into the ground and also gives some insulating protection to the shallow roots.  Spread 8-12” wider than your row on each side since that’s were many of the roots actually are located.

                 Below is a simple recipe for raspberry jam. Use straight or add other fruits for unique flavors.

 Yield: about 6-7 half-pints

1 quart crushed red raspberries

3 ½ cups sugar

1 pouch liquid pectin

Combine raspberries and sugar in a large saucepot.  Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Stir in liquid pectin. Return to a rolling boil.  Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary.  Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving ¼” headspace.  Adjust 2 piece caps.  Process 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner.