The Q&A Archives: Growing Strawberries and Raspberries

Question: When is the best time to grow and cultivate strawberries and raspberries and can it be done all year round since I am living in the southwestern desert region?

Answer: Unfortunately, raspberries don't thrive in the low desert because they need dormant season chilling hours, so aren't recommended. However, blackberries will grow here, but they need full sun and plenty of space, because they spread invasively and can be difficult to control because of thorns! However, they are fairly easy to grow. They might benefit from afternoon shade, but they still need at least 6-8 hours per day of full sun. 'Rosborough' and 'Womack' did well in a study conducted at the Yuma Agriculture Center. 'Brison' and 'Brazos' are two other varieties that are often available and will also grow here. There are many varieties with Native American names (such as Navajo, Choctaw, Shawnee) but they do not perform here. Plant in spring or fall.

Strawberries are planted in fall when weather cools, with fruit in spring and early summer. Good varieties for our area are Camarosa and Chandler. Strawberries are typically grown as an annual here as they don't go through the summer very well.

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