Most commercial berries are grown in cool-climate areas such as the Adelaide Hills. Much head-shaking was the general response to my queries about why I too couldn’t grow raspberries down in the warmer areas of the Adelaide Plains. I guess I was just too stupid to listen to the naysayers, so went ahead and planted anyway, but in the coolest spot in the garden.
My reward has been a handful of raspberries shared with the cook on our breakfast cereal each morning throughout spring, a flourishing of fruit somewhat earlier than those still ripening up in the cool valleys of the Adelaide Hills.
And where is this raspberry-haven in the garden? On the cooler south-side of the massive rainwater tanks that sit stolidly at a pleasant cool temperature through the heat of summer. Each tank holds just over three tonnes of winter rainfall, so comes into spring at a pretty cool temperature anyway, warming only very slowly as the season progresses.
The variety I’ve planted out is called ‘Willamette’ – a bare-rooted winter gift from the berry experts up at the gnomes' house high in the ranges behind Lenswood. This variety fruits twice a year, in spring and autumn, before being cut back hard as winter approaches. I’ve set up a trellis that follows around the wall of the tank; this carries the weight of these thornless canes.
Finally, the raspberries receive only the sweetest and coolest water I have – directly from the rainwater tank behind them. I flood their roots each morning for the few minutes it takes me to pick my breakfast berries. I figure I’ll get a small portion of that cool water back the next day for my trouble.