A tayberry is a cross between a raspberry and a blackberry. It is a marvellous mixture involving the size of a big raspberry with the sweetness and juice of a blackberry.
Perhaps just as important, tayberries are much more restrained than blackberries in their spreading habits. Where as blackberries can run amuck all over a plot, tayberries can be safely controlled.
- October – March
- Planting depth: Cover root ball
- Planting spacing: 2 m apart in all directions
- July – September
- Delicious turned into compote and jam. Tayberries freeze well too.
Tayberries are easy to grow, a hardy plant originating from Scotland. They have very few pests and diseases, and flower late, meaning that the harvest is very rarely damaged by a late frost.
Tayberries share the reputed health benefits of raspberries and blackberries, being high in antioxidants. They are ideal for eating just as they are, added to fruit juices and smoothies, turned into jam, or even wine.
It is hard to give tayberries too rich a start in life. A tayberry bush should last for many years in your garden or plot, so it is worth mixing a significant proportion of well rotted compost and manure into its planting hole. Every year apply a good mulch of the same to feed the plant and help keep the roots moist.
The best time to plant tayberries is in their dormant period, either in autumn or early spring. If you do want to propagate tayberries, simply bury a tip of a cane into the ground during summer. It will naturally root, and you will be able to cut it away from the parent plant when it is sufficiently mature a few weeks later.
Tayberries are grown like summer raspberries, and this means the gardener needs to be patient in the first year after planting. Assuming a tayberry bush is planted just before or after winter, the following spring the bush will send up fresh new canes that will need to be supported into a frame. Next summer these canes will produce the harvest. After fruiting they can be cut down to ground level, and in their place are tied in the fresh new canes, and the cycle continues.
The best shape to support tayberries is a fan. This is because the tayberry bush will naturally throw out canes into this shape, and the canes are a little stiff to try and bend to run along horizontal wires. Ideally the fan shape should be big. At my allotment I support my tayberry canes with posts and wire over 2m high and 3 m wide, and my mature bush now easily fills this space. I even cut the end off my canes to stop them spreading further.
Watch out for the flowers of tayberries, not because they are particularly beautiful, but as a sign that the fruit will start to form soon after. Tayberries taste delicious, and if birds discover this, you will risk losing your entire crop. A net is an essential defence.
When picking tayberries, it is best to treat them like strawberries, ie to keep the stalks on. Tayberries are delicious eaten fresh, are great in jams and puddings, and in the lucky circumstance of having too many all at once, they also freeze well.
See tayberry varieties.