We are very lucky here because wild raspberries grow prolifically in this area, and crop up all around the edges of our property and pretty much wherever we allow them to grow. Raspberries are one of my favourite fruits, and we love both the wild and cultivated varieties. I allow the wild variety to grow in many wilder corners of my garden, and have even allowed some to grow inside a part of my polytunnel.
This ‘accidental’ crop is one which has proven surprisingly beneficial. The main reason that I like to allow wild raspberries to encroach into the polytunnel is that the raspberries inside the space ripen much more quickly than those outside – usually around 3 weeks before those outside are ready.
The wild raspberries are, of course, mush smaller and somewhat more tart than the cultivated raspberries we grow. And they require some care and management due to their prickles. But we love their taste, and find that they produce prodigious amounts of fruit both in the polytunnel and outdoors.
This prolongs the season over which we can enjoy fresh raspberries from the garden. The wild raspberries from the polytunnel come first, then the wild raspberries outdoors, then the cultivated raspberries I have in a different area, in my forest garden. The wild raspberries in the polytunnel are already in fruit (and the fruits will be ready in a month or so, depending on the weather).
Of course, you might have different ‘accidental’ crops in your area, but I write about this simply to show how sometimes, the best garden decisions involve embracing nature, and working with what you already have rather than introducing new plants. Wild raspberries in our area are often considered almost a weed. But when controlled a little and managed in the right way, they can be very useful plants for a home grown diet.