Livi Lou is a garden writer and private breeder. She is currently breeding strawberries, developing a garden product and researching the history of heirloom fruit varieties. As a central Ohio native, Livi Lou writes about her garden and her passion for unique varieties of perennials and fruit plants, so that her neighbors can grow a better and more confident garden.
 

 

Brazelberries Raspberry Shortcake: world’s first dwarf raspberry variety
by Livi Lou - posted 02/05/16

Beautiful berry plants! That is every gardener’s dream and one brand’s mission.

Brazelberries is a new brand by a major wholesale nursery called Fall Creek. Brazelberries is named after the company’s Brazelton family.

Their dwarf varieties can fit into any size garden. They are devoted to breeding berry plants that are simple, beautiful and delicious. Since these values ring true to mine, I was very intrigued when Brazelberries launched in 2013.

I found their dwarf raspberry variety called Raspberry Shortcake at Oakland Nursery and planted it in my garden Summer of 2014. 

 

 

The photo below is upon first planting Raspberry Shortcake.  Its short stature is evident.  Instead of a raspberry plant’s usual 5-6 feet, Raspberry Shortcake’s mature height is only 2-3 feet.

 

  

 

As expected for initial plantings, Raspberry Shortcake did not produce any berries Summer 2014. It would produce next season.

I wanted to test if its hardiness estimate was accurate.  So I kept the pot outside during the winter, but placed it between bushes to protect it from the wind.

Raspberry Shortcake is described as a floricane variety, which means it produces berries on second year canes.  The overwintered canes from Summer 2014 would produce in Summer 2015.

 

    

 

In Spring 2015, it became clear that the canes had died from the winter’s cold. Raspberry Shortcake’s berries are described as ‘having an essence of vanilla.’  You can imagine how I felt when I thought I would have to wait another year to taste them!

So I tended to Raspberry Shortcake as its new canes emerged from the soil.  These canes would produce berries in Summer 2016.

However, in Summer 2015, there were flowers on the new canes! *

The below photo shows the berries are growing from the new green 2015 canes. The brown canes in the bottom right of the photo are the dead floricanes from 2014.

 

The berries are magenta-pink in color and have a slight hint of vanilla in their flavor.  It’s not a pronounced note of vanilla, but still unique.  The berries were harvested in my garden beginning Late July-Early August to Late August, which is usually a slow production window in the summer garden.**

 

Raspberry Shortcake’s short, thorn-less stature, opportune production time and unique flavor make it worthy of your garden’s valuable space. 

 

~ Thanks for reading!

 

 

*Producing on new canes would make it a primocane variety instead of a floricane.  But it could also be a potential ‘double-cropping’ variety that produces on new AND old canes.  This winter, I am overwintering Raspberry Shortcake in the garage to see if the floricanes survive and produce in Summer 2016. 

**Raspberries are ripe when they separate easily from the calyx.  Raspberry Shortcake does not seem to separate as easily as other varieties.  So make sure you are actually picking these raspberries when they are ripe. Otherwise, they will not be as flavorful.  

  

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Theme Announcement: Febru-BERRY!
by Livi Lou - posted 02/01/16

Febru-berry!

It’s the snowiest month of the year,

but have no fear, for spring is near…

And in the spring, comes new growth

and berry plants have the most

antioxidants, nutrients and taste,

so let’s start planning your gardening space!

 

Each Friday in February you will learn about:

 

                                                               

 

 

The world's first dwarf thorn-less raspberry bush.

     

                                                           

 

 

 

  A unique colored and flavored raspberry variety.

      

                                          

 

 

A sweet taswting dwarf blueberry bush.

 

Are these new varieties worth the valuable space in your garden? I've grown these varieties since 2014.  Learn through my experience!

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Strawberry Seedlings: The Best Indicator for Transplanting
by Livi Lou - posted 01/29/16

In three months, strawberry plants grown from seed will be ready for transplanting to the garden. There is plenty of information about seed starting—the key of which is often a humidity dome.  In this post, you will view photos of how strawberry seeds develop into seedlings and you will learn how to determine if these seedlings are ready for transplanting.

 

Healthy strawberry seeds will normally show signs of germination within 7-10 days of sowing.  Upon close inspection of these tiny seeds, you will first see the pointed tip become more pronounced. A few days later a root will emerge from this pointed tip.

 

Below are photos of emerging strawberry seedlings. Look closely and you will see the white roots.  The rest already have cotyledons (baby leaves).

 

 

The root will anchor into the soil and the green growth will continue to grow.  The first true sets of leaves will develop, and then the second set, third and so forth. Below is a photo with true leaves.  You can see the difference between true leaves and cotyledons.

 

 

Interestingly, as the strawberry seedling continues to grow, the leaves will start to become lobed and it will start to develop a crown.  This is the most fascinating stage!  From the crown, new roots will develop.

 

 

Once these new roots anchor the crown to the soil and you can gently flick the seedling with your finger and it does not flop over, it is then ready for transplanting.  This strong root system will increase the odds of being successfully transplanted.  Remember to adjust the seedlings to outdoor conditions by placing them in a sheltered area for a week before transplanting to the ground.

 

Of course, not many strawberry varieties are grown from seed.  Most are clonal cuttings from the mother plants.  Swallowtail’s online nursery is good source of several strawberry varieties that come from seed.*

 

Growing strawberry seeds is a fun experience, especially during the coldest months of winter when you are most eager for spring.  February is a great time to start so that the seedlings will be ready by May. 

 

Enjoy!

 

   ~ Thanks for reading!

 

*Swallowtail lists their strawberry seeds under the Vegetable Seed category.

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