If you have lived in Texas very long you will learn that you can’t grow raspberries here! They struggle with our hot summers, both heat and intense sunlight are tough! I know, I have tried…
That was the way of thinking till Jacy Lewis, Program Manager at the Extension Viticulture and Sustainable Fruit Applied Research Program in Fredericksburg began to experiment with a very different environment for raspberry growing. For the last couple of years, she has looked at many different varieties grown under 3 different colors of shade cloth.
The experiment is continuing but so far, the fruit has outstanding flavor with intense sweetness, yields are good, and the plants are doing very well. Most raspberry plants, Dorman Red is the most recommended, perform very poorly and eventually just die. These plants are doing just the opposite with good fruit set, great limb growth and lots of vigor. The experimental shade cloth colors are red, black and white and so far, the red is looking slightly better, but the experiment is far from over.
Organic growers pay attention! There are very little disease or insect issues growing raspberries and they love organic fertilizers. The organic market for raspberries is $3 for conventional 6-ounce packages and $5 for organic 6-ounce packages. My sources say they can sell all the organic they can get!