A taste of the tropical in an English garden

Valentina Raspberries

I swore I was going to stick to what I know this year; tried and tested varieties of fruit and veg, minimise and streamline the amount of work needed to tend to my little edible garden. But when I read a couple of reviews about an unusual variety of raspberry, I couldn’t resist. After all, I had some space going in my newest no-dig plot, so why not?

The Valentina raspberry is a floricane variety, and apparently produces apricot-pink fruits abundantly from June. My older Polka raspberries are primocane, so in the past I have had to wait until the heady summer days of late July and August to enjoy the fruits, and it can feel like an eternity. Now, I’ll have a much longer raspberry-laden season to enjoy.

But it wasn’t the consistently high yields, resistance to pests and diseases or frost hardiness of Valentina that caught my attention – it was the promise of a distinct tropical-like flavour. I’m definitely a fan of heritage varieties of fruit and veg, as some newer varieties do seem to have been developed more for their disease resistance and yield, rather than flavour. But a small army of allotment growers have waxed lyrical about Valentina’s ‘taste of the tropical’ and I wanted to see for myself if the fruits live up to the hype.

Valentina Raspberry

© Marshalls Seeds 2017

I bought six Valentina raspberry canes from Marshalls Seeds* and planted them in alongside my Cambridge Favourite strawberry patch, forgetting that eventually I’ll need supports to tie in the new growth… since this is a floricane (summer fruiting) variety and not an easy-as-pie cut-it-all-back-down-to-the-ground-in-winter primocane raspberry. But I’m sure at some point this summer, I’ll cobble something together to ensure that the new growth is supported and ready for next year.

I’m really looking forward to a taste of the tropical from my little corner of England – just a few more weeks and we should be in business.

*I have not been asked to mention/promote/link to Marshalls Seeds!

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