First time growing Raspberries

provence(SoCal/19)March 2, 2007

I've always wanted to grow raspberries in my kitchen garden, today at my local nursery they were selling gallon containers of Heritage Raspberries, and I couldn't resist! There's not much to look at right now, each pot has one very dead looking six inch cane, one pot has a tiny green leaf coming through the soil.

Any advice on where or how to plant them? It regularly gets into the 100's here in the summer. Should I put them in a bed that gets some relief from the afternoon sun, or do they need all the sun they can get? How far apart should I plant them?

I'd love to know about your experience with Heritage. I'm already dreaming of picking fresh raspberries straight from the garden...

Happy Gardening.


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Raspberries appreciate deeply worked, rich soil and mulching. If planted about 3 feet apart, they will normally spread in few years to form a solid bed, which you will then have to control by pruning and digging. Some particularly vigorous varieties will try to escape their bed and spread elsewhere (such as into the neighbor's lawn, garden, etc.), but Heritage is not so aggressive. In view of your summer heat, I would try to plant where there is some afternoon protection from the sun.

For your hot, S. California climate, Baba red raspberry would be my choice. This variety originated near Los Angeles, and is known for its heat resistance. I have been growing Baba here in N. Virginia for about 8 years, after having tried and failed with the everbearers Heritage and Hilton (poor productivity), and the summerbearers Latham and Taylor (low productivity, fungal infections, crumbly berries). I also tried the yellow everbearer Fallgold, and found it much less productive than Baba, with a flavor I considered to be overly sweet.

Baba produces at least 3 times as much as any of the others, and over a longer season. It's the only red raspberry I need.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

    Bookmark   March 3, 2007 at 7:01PM
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Thank you Don! Baba sounds like a great red raspberry, I'd love to try it. If I'm lucky enough to find it, can I add it to the same bed as Heritage?

By the way, can I expect to get a raspberry crop this first year? I was also wondering how many plants you would suggest to provide for a family of five.

Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom.


    Bookmark   March 4, 2007 at 12:45PM
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Since you live in Southern California, you ought to be able to find Baba, even at local nurseries. But I would definately keep it quite separate from other varieties. If the varieties grow together, which they inevitably will, they will lose their identities, and at some point it may become important to be able to know which is which.

I can't tell you exactly how many plants to buy for a family of five. Depends on how many raspberries you think you can eat, and how you use them. However, for me, a row of 25-30 feet, which will fill in completely with plants, would be about the minumum for fresh use and jam making. Anything less than that would be cereal garnish.

Don Yelllman, Great Falls, VA

    Bookmark   March 4, 2007 at 1:11PM
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I think I need to make a return trip to the nurery, and find some additional plants - we definitely need more than cereal garnish! Maybe I'll get lucky and find some Babas.

Thanks again Don.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2007 at 7:48PM
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Where can you get Babas in Northern Virginia? I'm even having a hard time finding them on the Internet.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2008 at 1:51PM
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I don't think you will find Baba for sale in Northern Virginia. Why this raspberry variety is so difficult to find is one of life's great mysteries, since it is an outstanding performer in warmer climates. And back in the days when it was possible to find them in the Henry Field catalog (and a few others), they were priced at a premium to other varieties. Another mystery, since this variety propagates readily in my beds, although I do keep them very rich with stable manure.

My original plants were mailed to me by a kind NAFEX member, who purchased them locally in Southern California. The 10 plants ended up costing a little over $50 with postage, but well worth it, since I have been growing them now for over 7 years, and have given away quite a few locally. I do not, however, pack and ship plants, since that is such a time consuming procedure it is just not worth it to me at any price, although I have done it several times in the past.

If you are close enough to Great Falls to drive over, I will give you a half-dozen plants with new shoots any time, for free. I am at 10109 Sanders Court in Great Falls, and the phone number is in the book. Watch out for the guard ducks.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

    Bookmark   February 5, 2008 at 4:43PM
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Bay Laurel Nursery sells Bababerry.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bababerry @ Bay Laurel Nursery

    Bookmark   February 6, 2008 at 3:27PM
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I am living in New Jersey and was thinking of growing raspberries. How long does ti take to get fruits out of the 5 inch stick that I would find at the nursery? In other words how long does it take to get a first crop out of those mini sticks?

    Bookmark   April 25, 2008 at 10:49AM
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ladyslppr(z6 PA)

If you plant the stick from the nursery in a rich soil with lots of sun, and its gets enough water all summer, I'd expect a few berries late in the summer. Next year you'll have several canes and a bunch of berries, if all is going well.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2008 at 12:53PM
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The mini sticks, while they may bloom and have a raspberry or two, are not the future of your plant, but its past history. Growth that will eventually produce raspberries for you will come from the roots in the form of new all-green canes. As the root systems mature, they will send up more canes, and that is when you will start getting more than a cupful of raspberries. Raspberries are bienneals. The old canes should be removed completely after they fruit, leaving more space for new canes to grow in.

If you were to get your plants in very early in the spring, you might conceivably get some berries in late summer of the first season -- if they are of the everbearing type. You can still plant now, but its a little late to expect berry production this season. If you plant summerbearers (which I don't recommend), your first possible crop would be next season in midsummer.

But again, the first small crop is not the important issue. Instead it is to encourage vigorous growth of new canes so that eventually you will get a real crop. Plant in rich soil, in full sun if possible, and mulch the plants to improve their growth and vigor.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

    Bookmark   April 25, 2008 at 12:56PM
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Don I might have to get in touch about your offer.

I grow heritage right now. They are only on their 3rd year. The first year had a handfull of berries. The second was decent. This year I have about 25-30 new canes starting to come up. They are only about 2-3 inches tall right now. I cant wait till summer. I grab them as I go by on the mower. LOL.

I might get more then cereal garnish this year.

I started with 3 "sticks" that have spread into about 30 this year.

This year I will be netting them. Birds got most of them in previous years.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2008 at 2:48PM
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May that offer be extended to another Virginian? ;) I'm down in Richmond and can't find blueberry or blackberry or rasberry plants anywhere. I come up to the fairfax area about once a month and would gladly swing by if you had a few to spare!

Brett ~ rVa

    Bookmark   May 1, 2008 at 11:07AM
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I have a few Baba raspberry and Triple Crown blackberry plants that have escaped the bed and will have to be removed. You can have them if you want them. But the sooner the better, since they will suffer from the mower as they grow, and the best time for planting is as early as possible. They will still transplant well now, but by June or so it will be more difficult and they may have been mown.

E-mail me direct at for address and other contact details. Great Falls is on the NW side of the beltway, and I am about 7 miles out from Tyson's Corner via Route 7.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

    Bookmark   May 1, 2008 at 1:49PM
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Raintree nursery was offering free plants as a bonus for ordering early in "06. I picked two Carolyn and two Meeker raspberries, planted the Carolyns in five gallon pots, the Meekers in one gallon. All are growing vigorously this year, and one of the Carolyns has a nice crop of developing raspberries. The Meekers were moved up to five gallon pots in April. The Heritage and Baba raspberries that I tried to grow in the past all died over the summer. I'm surprised the Oregon raspberries are doing so well here. Or maybe I'm finally figuring out what to do to grow them.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2008 at 10:00PM
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bonnan(6 & 5)

You brought up an interestng point that never occurred to me. I'll get to it but first some background.
I planted 25 Heritage and 25 Boyne last year and picked a few handfuls from both. This year they are both spreading like gangbusters and doing well.
25 more Caroline and Prelude arrived today! ( I've got a large extended family and as Grandpa I've got to treat them all).
Now back to your comment regarding the potential for the varieties to spread and intermix. The Boyne and Heritage are planted 9 foot apart and I was planning on continuing the two rows with the Caroline and Prelude.
Will I have difficulty keeping the varieties separated? Thanks in advance for your opinion.
Jim B

    Bookmark   May 1, 2008 at 11:18PM
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I would say 9-10 feet is about the minimum between varieties if you want to keep them separated. Even then, you will have to keep a careful eye on them each spring so they don't creep toward each other, and remove plants when necessary. An interplanting with something like annual flowers would be good to make sure the area between them gets worked every season.

I suppose you could also say that when the varieties are all treated the same way as everbearers, it doesn't make any real difference if they intermix, but it runs counter to my sense of order.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 5:53AM
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I also live in southern California and growing Raspberries for the first time. They were available at Home Depot so I picks up 3 containers: Latham Red, Brandywine, and Jewel. It's just a twig with some green stems and leaves sprouting out. I am close to the beach but I'm not sure if it will be still to hot for the berry plants to handle.

Do I have to plant my 3 different varietys far away from each other? It can get rather breezy here sometimes.

Can I plant them in the ground now? It does not go below 40 degrees at night here.

Since raspberries like FULL sun... does this mean I have to plant them out in the open? Is morning sun only or afternoon sun only ok for it? I don't want them to fry when it gets to be hot in the summer and fall.


    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 1:36PM
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