Bababerries or Baba Raspberries are my favorite raspberry to grow. I have tried many yellows and reds over the years, and Baba has been the best. I first started growing them in the winter of 1999-2000 and have ever since. They need about half day sun (shade some of the time, with about 4 to 6 hours of sun light) here in Southern California. Morning Sun is better than afternoon sun since the harsh heat can burn the leaves early in the growing season. Although a lot of East Coast sources recommend growing raspberries in full sun, around here all the folks I know who have success with raspberries grow them either in half day sun or open shade ( not under a tree or patio cover) on the side of a building. Babas need regular supplemental water and loamy soil. I water at least once a week in the dry season, and I also mulch heavily. Drought will kill them. As far as consistency, Babas aren’t crumbly like Heritage or some of the other reds sold around here.
They are firm, about an inch in length, and have a sweet traditional red raspberry taste. They are my favorite for the texture, nice size, flavor, and hardiness in our climate. The other varieties I have grown have been lacking in at least one of those areas. They have thorns, but not vicious like roses or some blackberries.
Since they are an everbearing variety, the plants can be cut to the ground for a single crop each year, or keep the canes for a second year and have a lighter May crop as well. Both methods work, but cutting to the ground is the easiest to maintain a tidy plot and the fruit is larger on the method of cutting to the ground. They get 4 to 6 feet tall. Babas spread slowly by under ground roots, like other raspberries. Where they are really happy, they can become invasive so provide an underground barrier to keep them out of where you don’t want them. They need a little bit of support to keep them from falling over on to the ground. Buy bare root right after Christmas up until the end of January in the stores, or order early from an online source. Over the last 15 years, I have seen them at nurseries like Armstrong, Home Depot, and even Target, but most years, especially recently, no place local seems to sell them. www.baylaurelnursery.com carries them; they are in San Luis Obispo County. I ordered something from Bay Laurel many years ago, and I was happy with their customer service. I have since noticed they sell out of Babas most years, so order early in the late fall for winter planting. I sometimes will thin my different berry patches in January, and then sell the extras to local gardeners, usually at my neighborhood block yard sale in the late Spring. Bababerry was patented in Dec. 1979 but it has since expired, therefore, asexual propagation is legal now.
I moved my old patch in winter 09-10 from the hotter West facing side of my driveway to the East facing side. This way I won’t have to add supplemental shade panels on really hot days while they are still putting on new leaf growth. The leaves had a tendency to burn around the edges and turn black if it got too hot. The chickens helped clean out the area last year.
The bed sat fallow over the summer and fall.
I added compost, watered, layered with newspaper, topped with straw mulch, and transplanted the berries while they were dormant during the winter.
It has worked out well, but I still have to build a new support. It is turning into a jungle of berry canes.
For now they are kind of sprawling into the cantaloupe growing nearby.
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