I got a couple of questions about my raspberries today on the harvest post. So this post is to answer some of them and be the first post to go over how the year went with this crop. I planted the raspberry patch 18 years ago. I had two sections (each about about 6' long by 4' wide) started in raspberries. I planted three canes of each type. They were bought from Pinetree.
I planted two different kinds one in each section. Lanthum is a summer bearer. It didn't last long in the garden. It never grew well and got diseased and was unhappy. I eventually ripped it up.
The other variety I planted was Heritage. It too got the same disease as Lanthum (something that makes each of the segments of the berries not ripen all at the same time and also makes them crumbly). It just didn't seem to care. I would lose a few berries to it , but not many. It would produce well anyway.
The first year that the raspberries grew they didn't produce much. The second year was OK. After about three years they had filled their space up and were producing like mad. Raspberries send runners underground. Once they get settled they act like weeds. A few times a year I have to go out and rip out roots that are trying to take over other sections of the garden.
My berries are planted in partial shade right at the edge of the woods. They do not get full sun. In the summer they probably get about four hours of full sun. At this time of the year they would be lucky to get about an hour of sun, but I haven't timed it. Since they grow well I don't worry about it. One side of their bed is raised with a small little poorly made rock wall. Which means it was put up by me. I'm the opposite of EG, I try to engineer everything so it just barely works. The least amount of effort to make it work right is my motto. MIT, my alma mater, is probably ashamed of me by now. The other side is bound by the driveway which is just slightly higher than the bed.
I have fertilized this bed exactly once in five years. I like to keep the leaves that blow into the bed there to mulch it. In the past decade we had a landscaping service that would blow them out even if I asked them not to. Now I'm doing it myself so they will once again be left in. There isn't a lot of work involved with the raspberries bed. Once a year I cut out the spent canes in July and at the same time thin out the new canes. In addition in March I usually clean up the bed of any canes broken over the winter by snow and prune off the old flower heads if I didn't do it in the fall. If it didn't try to invade its neighbors so much it would be the easiest bed in my whole yard.
The Heritage plant produces berries in July on year old canes. It does this in a very short time over about two to three weeks (this year July 14th- Aug 2nd). This year it produced 6.5 lbs of summer berries. Then starting in late August (Aug 25th this year) it produces fall berries on new canes. It will keep producing for quite a while. Frost won't stop them. It will kill the flowers, but the fruit that has set will still ripen. A true freeze will shut them down though. Last year I was still harvesting in early November. When it gets cold they do slow down a bit. So far this fall I have harvested 6.4lbs of berries. I have plenty of berries on my cereal every morning and still some left over to freeze.
As to problems with the crop, I had more than usual. The fall berries were more moldy and rotting than usual. I had to toss a lot of the berries in September as they would mold and ripen at the same time. The October berries seemed better. Also in September I had wasps (some kind of paper wasp) start eating the raspberries. At their height they ate about half the crop. They had disappeared by October.
Raspberries love rain, so our weird wet weather didn't bother them in the least. In fact they probably grew better than an average year.