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How to grow Tayberries
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Tayberries are a crossbreed of berries. They are a mix between blackberries and red raspberries, and they are named for the river in Scotland called Tay. These berries were patented in 1979, and if you only have space for one berry in your garden, this should be it. These grow prolifically, and within two years of cultivation, you will have a large array of sweet fruits usually from July and well into August.
Recommended Tayberry Varieties
Tayberry Buckingham is a thornless, floricane variety and being so thornless you can much more easily move the canes through whatever trellis or support structure you have. The berries get up to four centimetres in length and are suited for freezing.
It grows to around 2 meters tall and prefers a sunny site in preferably acidic soil that is free-draining but fertile but it’s worth noting it will grow well in partial shade too. It also a good choice for growing in large containers.
Non-specific tayberry varieties
There are many floricane types that are unnamed and sold under the general term ‘Tayberry’, and they are relatively inexpensive but have thorny branches. They also prefer full sun and fertile, well-drained soil.
The Medana variety is one that produces a very heavy crop if that is your overall goal and needs the same growing conditions as all other varieties.
Pests and other problems to look out for
Tayberries are very easy to grow and don’t have a lot of issues. The biggest pest issue you might face is that of a raspberry beetle whose grubs will result in dried patches on the stalks. You can eradicate these by spraying them with a product that contains deltamethrin but this best is best done when all the petals have fallen off the flowers.
The only other issue you might face is birds trying to eat your fruit before you get to eat your fruit. If you grow the canes vertically, you can help prevent easy access to the fruit making it more difficult for the birds to eat the fruit. The other alternative is to grow them in large fruit cages or cover them in netting around a frame when they are nearly ready for picking which is when birds usually take a liking to them to.
These plants are very vigorous, and they need to be spaced at least 2.5 meters apart to give them plenty of room to spread out. As with all raspberries, when you plant them, make sure they are well water, and we strongly recommend applying a general fertilizer at the time of planting such as growmore or fish, blood and bone which is readily available from all garden centres and nurseries.
Apply a general feriliser in spring and water well for the first 12 months
Every Spring add a general fertilizer such as growmore to give them a boost and mulch with leave mould or farm manure around the base of the plant to help add goodness to the soil and help retain moisture as they do prefer moist but free-draining soil.
The soil needs to be well-draining but moist. Plants should be kept well-watered for the first year, but once they get established, you don’t have to water them unless you have particularly long periods of dry weather.
Growing up a support structure
Tayberries grow best when they have a support structure like a sunny wall with trellis or wires on which to grow. Every plant needs about four square meters of space around it. When they start producing fruit, the plants become very heavy, so these upright supports need to prevent the plants from collapsing so they need something quiet substation to grow on.
Floricane or primocane
The variety of Tayberries you have will be either floricane or primocane. Floricane varieties will flower and fruit on canes that grew the previous season, and once they produce fruit, you should cut them back to the ground. The new canes which grew in the current season but did not produce fruit should be tied into your support structure in anticipation of next year. The primocane varieties will fruit and flower on growth that is made in the current year so you can cut them down completely to the ground once the fruiting is over and then tie the new growth to the support structures every Spring.
Tayberries are ready to harvest when the fruits are easy to pull off. When you pull them off, you will notice that they retain the plug to which they are attached exactly the same as when you pluck ripe blackberries. These berries, when fully ripe, are sweet enough that you don’t have to add any cream or yoghurt to eat them.
They are quite popular for jams, jellies, and pie filling. Once you pluck them, you can keep them in the refrigerator for one or two days, but if you have to store them for any longer, they should be frozen on open trays and then placed in bags so that the fruit remains separate when you go to use them in the future.
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