How To Grow - Raspberries

A raspberry patch is easy to set up and maintain. If you mix different varieties you can achieve a fruiting season from June right through to the first frosts in the autumn. Some varieties are also now thornless. It’s expensive to buy raspberries from the shops, but if you follow our guide, it’s simple to have an abundance of them on your doorstep!

When and Where

Plant out your bare root plants in the autumn. Choose a spot in the sun or the part shade, with soil which drains well. Prepare the site several weeks ahead by digging it over and digging in the well-rotted organic matter. Remove weeds and stones.

How to plant

Dig out a planting hole deep enough for the soil mark on the stem of your bushes to remain at the same level with the ground when planted. Carefully spread out the roots, and firm in the plant with soil. Water well. Allow around 35 to 45 cm between canes.

Raspberry plants will tend to lean sideways, resulting in damaged fruit, if they are not grown against supports. To create a simple trellis, you can use wire between fence posts or tree stakes 3 metres apart to support your raspberries, or in a small patch use single supports with raspberries growing around them. The supports should be roughly 2.5 metres in height. Prune the canes above a bud at around 30 cm above the soil.

Raspberries need plenty of water - keep your plants damp through the summer and scatter fertiliser over the soil around the canes in spring. It's also a good idea to lay down mulch to help retain moisture levels.

Harvesting

The fruits will redden quickly - pick them regularly when firm, pulling each raspberry from its plug, which should be left intact as part of the plant. Once picked, cool the fruit to avoid it quickly perishing. It should remain fresh for 3 to 6 days.

Through the year

During the autumn, prune fruiting canes back to ground level. Using garden twine, tie in a group of the newly growing canes - choosing around 7 or 8 of the strongest - as these will fruit next year. Remove the older canes. During the winter, cut away ungainly top growth. For varieties which are late and autumn fruiting, prune old canes and tie in the new in mid-winter. Old canes which won't fruit again are indicated by peeling greyish bark on stem and branch.

Handy tips

Canes which show any sign of disease or infestation should be removed. It's also good practice to remove canes which grow up to block access to your rows of canes, or outside the desired raspberry patch. These will block light and air circulation.


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