Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Black raspberries

Walking in Red Hook, I paused to snap a picture of my new raspberry plant, bought at the last gasp sale at Liberty Sunset. It was labeled "Jewel" and I have now discovered that it is a black raspberry. Deeply exciting.

Until I was stopped in my tracks by dozens of turquoise punnets of the small black berries at a stall at the farmers' market in Sante Fe one summer ten years ago, I had never seen them. I exclaimed brightly to the farmer, who sat hunched and scowling behind the little boxes. A hail storm had wiped out his entire crop and this fruit was what he had salvaged from his fields before the storm hit. The gorgeous purple clouds above the city had destroyed his income for the year.

I now know about the confusing world of raspberry pruning. People on gardening forums bandied about terms like floricane and primocane as if everyone knew what they were. Primocanes are first year canes, which bear no fruit,  while floricanes are second year, fruiting canes." Highest on the list of raspberry pruning complexity is your `Jewel' black raspberries [sic]," said Terry L. Hettinger, whose site I found very helpful.


I expect limited success with my limited space on the roof, but I hope that the pretty, white-dusted red canes I have are last year's primocanes, meaning that they are this year's floricanes. We shall see. As soon as the slush from the sky ends I shall go up and plant them and check on the spicy mesclun mix I sowed last week. The chervil managed to overwinter in a pot, so is remarkably robust. There is hope.


  1. oooh, I can't wait to see the fruits of this labor this summer! I'm already envisioning all the delicious prosecco drinks with black raspberries fizzing away within. Jealous!

  2. Raspberries are a gift that Mother Nature provides in limited quantities. Nurture them well!

  3. Hi Jill - don't be jealous, you have a whole new house:-)

    webb - I shall do my best!

  4. Don't forget about the ph levels in raspberries :)


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