In February 2011 I bought two sticks from Poundland at, funnily enough, a £1 each. The label on these twigs said “Raspberry: Malling Promise“. I planted my sticks and waited to see if they lived up to their name and the promise of raspberries came into fruition. That’s a good word when used in connection with fruit isn’t it: fru-i-tion?!
I had never grown fruit before (shame on me) and read that I won’t see any raspberries until the following year so it was with some excitement to find my twigs bearing fruit in July 2011. They were large, almost strawberry like, fruit and exceedingly tasty. Like everything I do, I read copious information in books and on Google all about growing raspberries, especially Malling Promise.
This variety, and there are several Malling varieties, is an early fruiting raspberry with thorny stems and firm, red fruit with medium flavour ready for harvest in early summer. It is heavy cropping, virus resistant, tolerant of poor soils, and ideal for small gardens. The information went on to say that Malling Promise is the first raspberry to fruit in early Summer with large rosy red fruits, excellent for desserts or jam.
This is where my second strange thing occurred; they were not early fruiting. In 2011 the raspberries didn’t start to appear until July, but is that termed as early for fruit? I don’t know, I would have thought it would be June/July, but maybe someone will enlighten me on this. I was still picking them at the end of August.
As people had scoffed at my Poundland twigs and regaled tales of buying one fruit and ending up with something totally different because the labels had been wrong, I began to wonder if my raspberries were not Malling Promise at all. So I reverted back to Google for information on other Malling varieties.
Malling Admiral is a fairly vigorous raspberry with erect canes with firm, red, long fruit with a small core and good flavour, They crop heavily from late July to mid August Again, if restricted to only one variety of raspberry in your garden, this is recommended as one to go for. The canes are spine free, numerous, vigorous and resistant to spur blight, botrytis and some viruses.
Mine don’t match that description, the canes are prickly and the core is long, but they do crop in late July and August.
The other variety I thought they could be is Malling Jewel: This variety is a conundrum, some websites tell me it is mid season fruiting in July and August, yet others, such as the RHS advise is it early season. It is a raspberry with short, slightly thorny stems and large, red fruit with a good flavour in autumn. This variety crops well especially after the first year and has good flavour.
Whatever variety they are in this the first week of September my bushes are abundant with raspberries. Yesterday I picked a bowl full and popped a few in my mouth whilst doing so. I had to be a bit selective because, as with the strawberries, I found that they seem to be popular with Woodlice.
Guess what I had for breakfast this morning? Well what could be a better way to start a Sunday with a big bowl of Granola, greek yogurt and homegrown Malling Whatever’s. Exceptionally tasty!!
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