Edible Berries of Ohio

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Who doesn’t love a fresh raspberry? Raspberries are versatile fruits that can be used as filler for a pies and other desserts, turned into preserves, jelly or jam, pureed and frozen for a homemade sorbet, added to smoothies, or even frozen whole as ice cubes to chill a glass of champagne! But honestly, nothing beats eating freshly picked raspberries.

Red raspberries are a jewel of berry, if there ever was one, with a striking ruby glow (photo below). Black raspberries are just as delicious with a deep purple color (photo above). Red raspberries hang from a reddish-brown stem while black raspberry stems are whitish/grayish-green. Red raspberries tend to be a bit more sour while black raspberries tend to be sweeter. Beyond the taste, raspberries are very nutritious containing vitamins A and C and various minerals. Raspberries are also rich in antioxidants and have anti-cancer properties!

These berries grow naturally here in Ohio. You may have even come across a wild shrub (called a bramble) in your lifetime. Perhaps you have memories of picking these berries as a kid? These fruits are a delight and can be grown in your backyard! Raspberries can also be effective as hedges and serve as a fence or barrier.

Raspberry brambles are easily incorporated into any landscape or garden. But there are some things you’ll want to know prior to establishing these plants on your property.

  • The best time to plant a raspberry is in the spring. Plant raspberries as soon as the soil can be properly prepared.

  • Plant raspberry brambles in raised beds or in areas where the soil drains well. Raspberries are susceptible to root rot diseases hence the importance of having well draining soil.

  • Raspberries should receive full sunlight (approximately 6-8 hours). Raspberries will do much better in areas that receive all day sunlight.

  • Avoid planting black raspberries and red raspberries together or near one another. Red raspberries may have latent infections which means they appear healthy but may be able to transmit viruses to healthy plants. If black and red raspberries are planted together, try and separate them as far apart as possible.

  • Use mulch around the base of your raspberry to minimize weed growth and maximize water retention. However, if the area is wet and/or or clay soil, avoid mulching as it will retain too much moisture and lead to root rot diseases.

  • Support for the plant may be necessary. Consider using a trellis or other support structure.

While this information may have seemed heavy or daunting, growing raspberries is fairly easy and a joy every year.

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Krista Manfull