Skip to main content


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 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


Popular posts from this blog

Swedish Flower Hen

The rare Swedish Flower Hen has a unique story. Called Skånsk blommehöna(Bloom Hen) in their native country of Sweden this landrace breed was thought to be extinct in the 1970's. (The term landrace refers to the fact that S.F.H.'s were free to develop for nearly five hundreds years without interference from man, so to speak). But in the late 1980's the Swedish Poultry Country Club located isolated flocks in the villages of Esarp, Tofta and Vomb. The gene bank that was eventually created by the S.P.C.C. was successful and there are approximately 1,300 Swedish Flower Hens currently in Sweden.

While enthusiast of rare breeds continue to work hard to increase the numbers it is painfully obvious why they slowly fell out of favor nearly 100 years ago. Though rare and visually stunning they cannot equal the number of eggs some of the top laying hens produce in a peak yearly cycle. Swedish Flower Hens average around 150 eggs over the course of 12 months. Compare that with the nea…

In Winter

I enjoy winter when it arrives at the homestead. Though the gardens are long since dormant there is still plenty to do.The rabbits and the chickens need constant care. A couple of times a day I have to break ice from the animals water and make sure they have enough warm bedding.

I don't mind though. No matter how cold it gets. There is poetry in the garden during summer. Birds sing with triumphant melody. Soft summer rains baptize new growth. But the winter features a more solitary form of art. For the most part there is a resonating silence that is a canvas for the occasional temperamental gust of wind and snow. These same squalls force the breathe from my lungs and scatter the frozen mist before my eyes. Then, once again, there is silence. As any good steward I try not to disturb this peace. If anything, I try to move unnoticed among it.

When it is cold enough the trees will produce an individual moan as they threaten to splinter in the darkness of the woods. They all have their…

The Land of Plenty

The idea that I am about to present to you is certainly nothing new. Wonderful organizations such as Ample HarvestPlant a Row for the Hungry and countless food banks and pantries across the country have been confronting the issue of hunger in our communities head on for some time.

Food insecurity is a cornerstone of the human condition. A little research will lead you to discover a long history of charity in opposition. For example, the seventh century Irish Benedictine monk St. Fiacre who was a master herbalist eventually settled in France and practiced a reverse tithe by keeping 10% of his harvest while giving away 90% to those less fortunate.

Life is complicated, as we all know. There are no easy answers to any of the problems that plague our society but there are some very simple issues that could be addressed that could in turn have a ripple effect on a number of other dilemmas such as poverty, health and even violence.

According to the USDA 40% of the $161 billion dollars’ (yo…