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Raspberries: A Perfect Permaculture Crop
Nutritious food, friendly to wildlife and easy to care for, raspberries provide many benefits for any farm or garden
Though our raspberry patch is relatively small, occupying only a portion of our relatively small garden, it is incredibly productive. On a good year, we can get nearly 100 half pint jars of raspberry jam from the little space they take up. At the same time, they provide food for a stunning array of pollinators, birds and mammals that not only eat the berries, but that find shelter in the protection of their canes. Yet, in spite of how many animals eat from our berry patch, there are still more berries left for us than we can possibly use.
From a nutritional perspective, raspberries are considered a “superfood” because they are so packed with nutrients while also being relatively low in calories. They are high in a variety of vitamins as well as fiber. They are also loaded with antioxidants and have been clinically shown to have anti-cancer properties. Add in the fact that most people find them delicious and it means there are a host of healthy and delicious things you can do with these delightful fruit and it seems clear that everyone interested in living sustainably should strongly consider having a large patch of these wonderful plants.
You can use the berries in jelly or jam. You can use the berries or preserves in desserts, smoothies and salads. You can add them to sauces and marinades. Really, the sky is the limit, because their sweet and tart flavor is delicious on its own, or it can enhance almost any other flavor.
In addition to all of those wonderful things about raspberries it should also be said that they are very hardy and robust plants that require little care or maintenance, to the point where many gardeners consider them fairly invasive. They are not picky about soil and will spread and fill in a wide range of situations.
The natural habitat of raspberries is the edge of forests, where they can get full sun, while also being protected from extreme heat. If you can give them a space like that, they will fill in and spread until some physical boundary stops them. Because they can be propagated from seeds or cuttings, it is easy to grow a lot of raspberries very quickly.
If you are looking for an easy, environmentally-friendly, healthy and delicious crop, you can’t go wrong by planting these wonderful fruit.