Growing Raspberries

Grow this soft fruit if you want an abundance of tart, yet flavoursome soft fruit – great for eating straight from the plant and used as an excellent ingredient to desserts and jams.
These days you can get a range of varieties that produce fruit in various colours – yellow, pink and red. They also have subtle differences in flavour and sweetness, so choose to suit.
They come in two harvesting types; autumn-fruiting raspberries that produce fruit on the current-year’s growth, and summer-fruiting raspberries that produce fruit on the previous seasons’ growth.

 

Planting Raspberries
Plant in an area of the garden or allotment that is sheltered from strong winds and preferably a sunny site. Partial shade is acceptable.
Dig in lots of bulky manure into the soil to increase soil fertility and improve the soil texture to make it more airy and better draining.
Plant bare-roots ‘canes’ in late autumn or early spring. Just soak the canes in a bucket of water to hydrate the roots temporarily before planting. While they are soaking you can prepare the planting hole/ trench (for more than one plant).
For one plant, dig a hole 7.5cm (3in) deep. Pierce the sides of the hole with a border fork to encouragesoft fruit roots to penetrate into the surrounding soil. Place the soaked canes in the planting hole and ensure the roots are spread out evenly. Level the soil mark of the raspberry canes to the surface of the surrounding soil and fill back the hole consolidating the soil so that the canes remain upright even when you tug at them.
Cut back the cane to a healthy full bud about 30cm (12in) above the soil level.
For more than one plant, dig a trench 7.5cm (3in) deep and 30cm (12in) wide. Space canes at 45cm (1 ½ ft) apart. Repeat the process above.
Summer-fruiting raspberries need support, so provide and prepare a post and wire system to attach growing canes to.

Feeding Raspberries
Incorporate a thick layer of bulky compost to the soil, a month prior to planting. Just before planting add a sprinkling of general purpose fertiliser over the soil surface.
In early spring, apply a thick layer of mulch to the soil surface. This will keep moisture locked up in the soil and provide some nutrients to the canes.

Watering Raspberries
Raspberries are particularly thirsty plants and watering in mornings and evenings is advisable daily during dry periods.
Mulch helps with keeping moisture in the soil for active roots.

Training Raspberries
Autumn-fruiting varieties
Cut down cane to about 2cm (1in) above ground level in the first spring. This will encourage multiple canes to grow from the ground.
First year harvest in autumn will produce some raspberries. Harvest these and leave canes overwinter.
Cut canes down to ground level in February. Repeat the February pruning each year.

Summer-fruiting varieties
Regular-cane types
Cut down cane to about 2cm (1in) above ground level in the first spring. This will encourage multiple canes to grow from the ground.
Tie in canes as they grow in the first summer. You may not get harvests in the first summer while the plants establish. In fact, if you notice flowers in the first summer, remove them to encourage vigorous plant growth for future harvests.
In the following summer harvest the fruits, and prune the fruiting stems after harvests to the ground level. There should be some strong leafy (non-fruiting) stems that have emerged from the ground. Tie these onto the supports, as these stems will flower and fruit the following summer.
Repeat the late summer pruning each year.

Long cane types
• If your canes are ‘long-cane’ ‘Tulameen’ variety do not cut the canes down at planting. Fruit will form on side shoots near the top of the plant, while new growth appears at the base. (This basal growth will form fruits the following year.)
Tie in canes as they grow in the first summer. You may not get harvests in the first summer while the plants establish. In fact, if you notice flowers in the first summer, remove them to encourage vigorous plant growth for future harvests.
In the following summer harvest the fruits, and prune the fruiting stems after harvests to the ground level. There should be some strong leafy (non-fruiting) stems that have emerged from the ground. Tie these onto the supports, as these stems will flower and fruit the following summer.
Repeat the late summer pruning each year.

Harvesting and Storing Raspberries
Harvest when berries are full-coloured and firm. Pick carefully leaving behind the central white plug. Try to harvest on dry days, as wet fruit quickly deteriorates when harvested.
Raspberries are best used and eaten immediately for the intense flavour. If you do want to freeze them, the slightly unripe raspberries are best for this.

Best Varieties of Raspberries
Summer raspberry ‘Malling Minerva’
Summer raspberry ‘Chemainus’
Autumn raspberry ‘Erika’
Autumn raspberry ‘All Gold’

Pests and Diseases of Raspberries - Raspberry beetle, Grey mould