Best Cane Berries for a Corvallis School Garden

Asked November 11, 2013, 4:28 PM EST

I am currently working to develop and install (with the help of many parents, students and community members) a new garden space at a local area elementary school garden. I'd like to include at least two varieties of caneberries in the plan (red raspberry and tayberries). Can you help me to select the best varieties for my needs AND help me identify a good local vendor? For the raspberries I am looking for a dependable ever-bearing variety. One concern I have however, is visibility- we want to make sure that kids can be seen in the garden from most any given location. Are there any ever-bearing that are shorter, or do better with a hilling type of cultivation? Also I'd like to plant some tayberries, and am wondering if there are some local nurseries that carry them? Best Regards, Amoreena Family Garden Program at Lincoln Elementary Healthy Youth Program

Benton County Oregon

1 Response

Hello and thank you for your question. I have done some research and found several links that will help guide you to the best varieties to suit your needs for cane berries in your school garden. I am not sure that your requirement for short berries is one easily met however. I have a few suggestions for you to consider. I would suggest thorn less varieties. Some blackberry types have vicious thorns. I talk about blackberries because the Tayberry is a cross between a blackberry and a raspberry and is generally lumped into the trailing blackberry type of plant. Trailing blackberries can be quite vigorous and all require trellising. I do not know the end use of the berries you are going to grow is so I will add some thoughts after reading about the Tayberry. The Tayberry is listed as a berry that is difficult to pick and one that does not produce an abundant amount of fruit. In addition the fruit is quite soft and as such might not be compatible with small non expert fingers trying to harvest them. It is also listed as a tart berry which is not always a favorite of the child palate. In addition the berries are easily damaged by heat and may require protective measures if high temperatures linger for very long. The first link I have included talks about the different types of blackberry cultivars that do well here in the Willamette Valley. It gives you an idea of the types of blackberries, including tayberry, that are out there lists each one and talks about recommended uses, taste and vigor of plant and thorns/no thorns. The second link tells you how to successfully grow them. All links provided here are OSU Extension publications.

Raspberries need more exacting growing conditions. While blackberries can deal with heavy soils, raspberries require well drained soils to thrive. Root rot is a particular worry when selecting a raspberry type to grow in the garden. When selecting a variety to grow, be sure to pick one that has some root rot resistance which is listed in the column disease resistance. Again the two links that are listed below provide advice on cultivar selection and how to grow raspberries. As with blackberries there are different types of raspberries to choose from. Each type has its pros and cons. Again your intended use of the berries should guide which kind you select. In general there are floricane (summer producing) fruiting varieties of raspberries and primocane (heaviest crop in the fall) fruiting berries. You expressed a wish to have an everbearing variety. Primocane fruiting raspberries can produce two crops a year and would be the kind of raspberry that could be called ‘everbearing’. Personally I prefer the floricane fruiting type of raspberry as I have had issues with a primocane fruiting raspberry spreading further and faster in my garden that I would have liked. I prefer the floricane fruiting types because I think that they are easier to maintain and to restrain. Don’t get me wrong all raspberries spread out of bounds. My personal experience leads me to prefer the floricane fruiters.

The final question about where to purchase them locally can be tricky as nurseries cannot feasibly carry all varieties since there are so many. I would call the ones near you and inquire if they carry the variety that you decide on. If not most will offer to special order a variety that you have decided to buy. If they have not yet sent in their orders to their suppliers they may be able to include your request with their spring stocking order. It is important to purchase cane fruit from a nursery to ensure that it is certified disease free before it is planted. I hope that this information has helped you.