Raspberries!

I’m not a big raspberry eater, but my husband and daughter love them. If I bring home a container from the store, at least half of them are gone within moments… and the other half usually get thrown out a day later because they go soft overnight. So why spend $4.99 on a container of them at the grocery store, when you can plant them in your yard, let the bush produce berries year after year and be more mindful about what you do with them? I think for some of us, it’s easier to throw away $5 or $2.50 than it is to throw away your own work.

Raspberries are easy to grow. We simply planted a bush last year and picked the berries as they came. It produced again this year, yielding even more berries.

Of course, it’s good to prepare the soil with compost before planting, if you can. We did not and our berries have grown very well. Raspberries also love moisture and they need space. The bushes can really spread out and will need the support of a trellis by the second or third year.

In early spring, pruning them back is important to allow new growth. Otherwise, you’ll have a mess on your hands! Be careful to only prune the older canes that produced the previous year – not the newer canes. The older canes tend to have brown stems, so it should be easy to tell which is which.

The bush will start putting out berries in late summer/early fall, so that’s the time to really enjoy them. They can produce berries into late fall, so pick all that you can until then!

Raspberry bushes are low maintenance, which makes them a wonderful addition to your garden. And of course you can do many things with them – eat them fresh, add them to salads, make them into smoothies, freeze them – so they’re well worth growing, especially if you have a use for them and smaller space that you really want to make the most of when producing your own food.

When growing my food is my own responsibility, I’m also less likely to take it for granted and toss mushy berries. Instead, they end up in the blender or freezer, and someone still enjoys them!

More about Wendy

Wendy is a Pagan city hippie living in the country. She is also a genealogist, writer, gamer, Pagan, and one of the authors of "Steampunk for Simpletons."A college town New Englander turned one-horse town Nebraskan, she raises a cup of Dunkies to life among cornfields and coyotes. She is still pleasantly surprised that amber waves of grain exist, and has declared the Midwestern prairies "wicked cool."

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