{Earth Day Weekend Project} Plant Raspberries

Last summer, our first in our house upstate, we chanced upon a roadside plant sale with a sign advertising raspberries, $5. Baby Greta had already established herself as a serious raspberry lover, like her daddy, and since it's always been my life-long dream to step outside the backyard into an orchard, or at least a bramble, I was in. I didn't know a thing about planting raspberries, but at $5 a tiny bush {and an old coffee can to leave your cash in}, there was very little risk. Between May and September, Greta and I picked handful upon handful of raspberries off those tiny bushes the grew, in full sun, up to my waist.

This Sunday is Earth Day, the perfect time to put something in the ground that will feed you and your family for years to come. Raspberries need full sun and some trellising, but beyond that, very little from you except water. Plant them as a hedge row, along a fence or any tucked away corner of the yard where they are easy to trellis, and ideally somewhere so close to the kitchen door you can pluck them off the bushes just minutes before you pile them on your weekend waffles or crepes. Spring is the best time to plant raspberries. Before you do, here's what you should know: 

look for.....

Everbearing Raspberries {sometimes called fall-bearing}, which bear fruit slowly but constantly throughout the growing season.  Raspberries come in all sizes and colors from red, purple, golden, or white varieties, so choose your favorite, or plant a bush of each if you have the space. The best sources to buy plants are always your local nursery, where they are likely to sell or at least know what varieties will grow well in your region, but you'll also find them a Home Depot and even some grocery stores, depending on where you live.

raspberries need.....

Raspberries need full sun, plenty of water and light pruning once or twice a year. They grow well in most soils, but prefer sandy loam soil with lots of organic matter {compost and hummus} added to the soil. The key elements are sun, space to grow year by year, and a sturdy trellising system that keeps the canes {branches} off the ground and allows for air to circulate and dry the berries during rainy spells. Plant raspberry bushes or canes in a shallow holes 2 feet apart, with 10 feet between each row. Cover the roots with about 3 inches of soil, not more. Prune each spring by removing tall canes and any weak ones, and prune again the fall after the last {or largest} harvest. 

eat them.....

Raspberries are loaded with fiber, vitamins A, C, folate, antioxidants and minerals. The seeds also contain vitamin E. Eat them whole on top of pancakes, waffles, crepes or ice cream, stirred into muffins or made into pies, cobblers or buckles. They are extremely good eating, and the most healthful, straight from the bush.

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New York City, United States
Sarah Copeland is a food and lifestyle expert, and the author of Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite, and The Newlywed Cookbook. She is the Food Director at Real Simple magazine, and has appeared in numerous national publications including Saveur, Health, Fitness, Shape, Martha Stewart Living and Food & Wine magazines. As a passionate gardener, Sarah's Edible Living philosophy aims to inspire good living through growing, cooking and enjoying delicious, irresistible whole foods. She thrives on homegrown veggies, stinky cheese and chocolate cake. Sarah lives in New York with her husband and their young daughter.