I planted raspberries in early spring and picked my first berry about a month ago. Since then the supply has steadily increased, more than I ever imagined, especially as they were labelled ‘Autumn Fruiting Raspberries’ … maybe we will get another harvest then too?
While I have been a garden writer and horticulturist my whole working life, this is my first foray into growing berries … unless you include picking wild blackberries from unwanted bushes. Their growth and speedy maturation has been truly amazing. In fact, they have been so quick to grow and mature that I haven’t even had a chance to arrange my stringlines. So, forget elegantly arranged vines, these plants are just sprawling around the garden, rather happily I might add, in my new “Berry Bed”, which also includes strawberries, blueberries and loganberries.
Today I picked a bowl full of berries, but that was only because I got up early and beat my kids to the harvest. It has become rather obvious that my children are the biggest pests that my veggie garden must endure. Picking everything that is ripe, and sometimes unripe, before I can even get a look in. On a positive note: at least I know that the birds are not getting any of my yummy fruit and vegies either.
Aside from raspberries, I have also been harvesting a few strawberries, but today saw another exciting addition to the bowl … my first two loganberries! I admit, raspberries are delicious, but loganberries are something else. So large and juicy, it honestly felt quite decadent when that rich flavoursome juice exploded into my mouth. Somewhat underrated, loganberries are easy to grow and delicious without even the hint of tart that some berries have. I first ate them last year at a berry farm just outside Leongatha in South Gippsland and have been a true convert ever since.
I wasn’t going to include vine-type berries in my vegie garden at all because they just seemed too difficult. Everything I had ever read or heard about them made them seem time consuming and problematic: pruning has to be done just so, fruiting is unpredictable and disease is rife. Not so. From my experience, as long as you have good soil, adequate moisture and a sunny spot, they will happily keep you in berries.
So from my perspective, growing berry canes is easy – it’s keeping the kids away from them that’s the real challenge.