Plant for fresh drupelets, for the medicinal support of childbirth, and for critter shelter!
Hardy from Zones 3-9. Up to 5-6 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide. Self-fertile.
Turtle Island has its own Red Raspberry, but the commonly cultivated Rubus sailed over from Europe and northern Asia, from the Mediterranean to Iceland. We’ve tucked our Raspberries densely on the edges of forest gardens and sparsely under fruit trees, imitating its natural habit in forests and clearings. In some parts of Europe, Raspberry only grows in higher elevations like Mount Ida in northwest Turkey, which is why it’s called idaeus. The ancient Greeks grew it over 2,000 years ago.
The berries aren’t actually berries but are collections of drupelets, each with its own seed, which have been found at old Roman forts in Britain. Whatever you want to call it, the fruit might just have the most ellagic acid, known to kill cancer cells and strengthen connective tissue. Raspberry keeps this medicinal property after processing into jams and pies or freezing for yoghurt and cereal toppings. The fruit also has Vitamin C, lots of fiber, some pectin and citric acid, and seems to reduce blood-sugar levels. Like women for hundreds of years, pregnant friends have made a tea from Raspberry leaf to ease childbirth, improve lactation, and reduce the risk of miscarriage.
Most Raspberries produce one crop each year, but the Everbearing cultivar shares a light spring and heavy fall harvest. Cut the canes down each winter if you only want the fall crop, but otherwise leave the primocanes (first-year growth). Birds and other critters use the thickets for shelter, so leaving the canes provides good habitat. However, pruning still improves the health of the patch! Cut out the floricanes (second-year growth with flowers and fruit) after their spring harvest and compost them so heat and microorganisms can help prevent diseases.
We grow our Everbearing cultivar from divisions and tip-layered cuttings.