We recently spent a morning with Ashley Patterson, Wasatch Community Gardens Executive Director, and home gardener. She showed us her garden and gave us some great tips on how she maintains her giant raspberry patch, which she lovingly refers to as her “raspberry forest.” We learned about growing raspberries in Utah and how to maintain them with as little effort as possible!
Where’d she go?! Ashley in her Utah raspberry forest.
The Most Sincere Raspberry Patch
When we visited Ashley’s home and asked her to tell us about her garden, she led us straight to her massive raspberry brambles. Nestled in the shady area next to her home, what started as five plants has grown into what she calls “the most sincere raspberry patch in the world.” Ashley says she loves the ease of care and yearly harvest her patch provides. It’s hard not to feel like her raspberry patch is at least a little magical.
Before we dive into Ashley’s methods, knowing some basic raspberry facts will help ensure a bountiful raspberry harvest.
Raspberry plants are made of multiple canes, or reed-like stalks, that grow from a crown at the base of the plant. Crowns will be connected by an underground branch called a stolon. While the crowns of raspberries are perennial, the canes only last one or two growing seasons. Check out a diagram from NC State Extension here to see all the different parts of a raspberry plant.
Raspberries come in a variety of colors, including gold, purple, and black. But if you’re looking for a variety that stands up to Utah’s cold winters, choose red raspberries. There are two types of red raspberries available to grow — June bearing and everbearing. These different types require different harvest times and maintenance.
June bearing (aka: summer bearing)
Canes will fruit every other year.
Will bear fruit all at once, typically in early summer.
May be susceptible to cold temperatures.
Sometimes referred to as “floricane,” or canes with second-year growth.
Everbearing (aka: fall bearing)
Canes fruit every year.
Fruit will trickle throughout late summer until the first frost.
Can withstand colder temperatures better.
Sometimes referred to as “primocanes,” or canes with first-year growth.
For more information about raspberry planting and maintenance, visit the USU extension site, which provides a list of Utah specific resources for growing raspberries in your home garden.
To Grow Raspberries in Utah: Keep it Simple!
So, how does Ashley maintain her huge raspberry patch with less effort than it would take to maintain a side yard of lawn and growing beds?
Ashley likes to call her raspberry patch “a pretty low-maintenance, perennial, edible crop” and notes that “the biggest thing is picking and cutting the canes.” We’ll go over how she picks and prunes below.
Alicia is a documentary filmmaker and associate digital producer at PBS Utah.Read more