Posted in Edible Landscaping, Foraging, homestead

Foraging Raspberries and Blackberries in Southern MI

I always thought it would be neat to have an “edible forest.” I was delighted to find a thriving population of native edible plants already on our property when we bought it. It’s in early June that the black raspberries and red raspberries are quickly ripening. When raspberries are getting sparse during the end of July, the blackberries begin showing up. Before you know it, it’s the end of summer and you can find one last flush of raspberries.

Because these three species are all members of the same genus (Rubus), they share some common characteristics, such as prickly stems. We have a lot of them growing wild here but it will take some work to get them producing higher yields.

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Black raspberries (such as the ones pictured above) can be confused with red raspberries. If you take a closer look at their stems, they are fairly easy to differentiate.
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Black raspberry canes are smooth but have large recurved spines that are placed somewhat far apart. Compared to red raspberry canes, their spines are fewer and larger.
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Black raspberry flower
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Several black raspberry flowers
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There is a lot of non-native crown vetch competing for space among these black raspberries. Crown vetch produces beautiful blooms for several months and attracts many lovely insects.
Orange rust
Orange rust may infect black raspberry and reduce yields
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Red raspberries in the morning sun are small but sweet.
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These red raspberries are also competing with crown vetch. The vetch isn’t easy to eradicate but I should be able to keep my raspberry patches fairly clear with regular hand weeding.
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Red raspberry stems are covered in small, abundant spines. They appear bristly. There are no large, recurved spines like black raspberry canes.
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Mouth-watering red raspberries in various stages of development
Unripe Blackberries
Unripe blackberries early in the season.

 

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Blackberries are ripe on July 24th, 2017
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Blackberries are ripe on July 24th, 2017
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A bunch of bright red blackberries should be ripe soon. (7/28/2017)

Author:

Environmental biologist and wannabe homesteader.

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