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Variety is the splice of life; top tips.

Byline: RICHARD EVANS

Everyone loves raspberries but to grow them successfully you need fertile soil, plenty of space, correct pruning and a sturdy support system.

Thankfully there are plenty of alternatives. Blackberries and hybrid berries are far less demanding than the raspberry, succeeding even in poor dry soils, and will thrive in most positions, behind the compost heap or up against the fence.

No sophisticated pruning is needed, just cut back unwanted growth, retaining strong new shoots and removing old woody stems. These plants crop heavily and you will only need to buy one to get a really good crop (equivalent to 10 raspberry canes!) Cultivated blackberries are far more friendly than our wild bramble with a range of thornless varieties now available. 'Loch Ness', 'Chester' and 'black satin' are all heavy cropping varieties with large sweet juicy berries. Oregon Thornless has attractive cut leaved foliage.

The loganberry is probably the best known hybrid berry (crossed between a blackberry and raspberry). The berries are very large, burgundy red in colour with a distinctive sharp flavour, ripening in July/August. If you can, tie in the shoots to horizontal wires as they grow.

These will bear fruit the following year, meanwhile the new season young shoots can be trained up to replace the old stems which have fruited.

The tayberry is also a blackberry/raspberry hybrid with extremely large fruit with a sweeter, more aromatic flavour than the loganberry. Cropping begins from early July, continuing until the end of August.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 25, 2011
Words:249
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