Over the past couple of years one section of our garden has specifically been cultivated to become a berry patch. About two years ago we purchased a year old raspberry bush from a local nursery and placed it in the garden. We worked the soil with compost and put it in a sunny location. The plant stretched and sent up thorny arms covered in leaves the first season. We cut the dead branches down to the dirt and pruned the live branches so that they were about three feet tall to force them to branch out the following year.
Our second season was filled with late summer berries as the bush casually took up more ground in the garden. During the winter I kept glancing at the patch out of our kitchen window and said to my wife that I was going to add one more plant. She told me to be patient, that I would be surprised how big the plant would eventually get. I decided to take her advice and spent the winter feeding the plant fresh rabbit manure.
In its third season the plant erupted from the ground. We are now nearing the end of October and our plant is still faithfully providing berries. Massive amounts. You can find my youngest daughter gobbling berries if you look among the foliage, her little pigtail sticking out among the thorns. Whenever we get out of our vehicle it is tradition to run over to the bush and eat berries. We expertly pull the loose, ripe berries from under a leaf while bees glide from one sweet berry to another right next to our fingers.
There are over 200 species of this particular bramble but for the most part you can lump them into three categories, red, black and purple raspberries. We currently grow red. Luckily our kids love these little berries because they are so healthy for you. In fact one cup of raspberries contains nearly 53% of your daily vitamin C which is an important antioxidant. They are delicate and do not necessarily store very well but this does not stop industry from importing nearly 15,000 metric tons of these little guys from our neighbors in Mexico. But believe me when I tell you they are extremely easy to grow. They are considered one of the healthiest berries available containing vast amounts of vitamin K (good for bones) and fiber. There is nothing like the taste of a berry fresh from the bush especially when you are comparing it to the store bought variety. Not to mention you have the option of growing under favorable, healthy conditions and the store variety are rather expensive.
A healthy raspberry patch will last years so if you have a little patch of lawn that you could dedicate to this spreading bramble I would highly suggest considering the delicious and healthy raspberry plant.
Tobias Whitaker blogs for Mother Earth News and Grit Magazine. Click on the Mother Earth News logo at the bottom of the page for all of his post. You can also find him on Facebook at Seed To Harvest: Bossy Hen Homestead https://www.facebook.com/seedtoharvestbossyhenhomestead/ which is a central location for his homesteading blogs and his homeschooling blog, A Mile In Her Shoes: Tales Of A Stay-At Home Dad found here https://amileinhershoestalesofastayathomedad.wordpress.com/