Many people describe the strawberry as the finest fruit, while others consider the raspberry to be as good, if not better. Nonetheless, raspberries are much less common by far, because the fruits perish so rapidly. Raspberries are among the easiest garden fruit to care for and cultivate and give the home gardener as good a return in delicious fruit as he or she can get from any other fruit plant variety.
Raspberries vary considerably in size and are usually red, although yellow, black and purple varieties are available. Black raspberries, sometimes called blackcaps, are native to the United States and have been grown here since the 1830s. Purple raspberries are first-generation hybrids of black and red raspberries and except for the color, resemble its red parents in overall appearance.
Royalty purple raspberry is the most popular purple raspberry variety today, with sweet, large berries that mature in late July. It was developed in 1982 by the Cornell Research Foundation in Geneva, New York. This productive raspberry grows 3 to 4 feet in height and width. ‘Bristol Black’ raspberry was also developed by the Cornell Research Foundation, 48-years earlier than ‘Royalty’. ‘Bristol Black’ has firm medium to large berries of excellent flavor that ripen in late July. It is hardy to our Zone 4 and is a vigorous grower.
Raspberries can be grown in most soils, but they do considerably better given plenty of moisture, a rich neutral or acidic soil, or at least copious quantities of compost and a thick mulch. Weeding must be done carefully because of their shallow roots. Black and purple raspberries usually do not require a support or trellis system.