Raspberries

Raspberries Growing

Tasty red or golden fruits that are easy to grow and a great favourite of children. Many people prefer them to strawberries. They grow well every year and throughout the UK without too many problems and even thrive in cool, damp summers.

Each variety will crop for 3 to 6 weeks each year. If you have the room, plant a mixture of early types, that fruit for 4 weeks from late June, some mid season ones that fruit for 6 weeks from early July and late summer crops that fruit for 5 weeks from late July and you should have fruit for most of the summer. Add an autumn cropping variety that fruits for up to 2 months from mid August and you have a full set. Once planted they will give a great crop for 10 years or more, especially if fed every year.

Soil and position

Most soils are suitable for raspberries, although they hate being waterlogged and therefore dislike un-improved clay that is permanently wet and airless. It will pay dividends to improve the structure of all soils with organic matter such as Levington Organic Blend Soil Conditioner. This will increase air and drainage on heavy clay soils and the moisture holding capacity of light sandy soils. Even on a good loam, added organic matter will encourage more fibrous surface roots. Find a sheltered position that is away from the worst of the winds and that gets sun for at least some of the day. Planting along a fence is a good idea, as it makes supporting the stems an easy job.

Planters and gro-bags

Some varieties of raspberries, such as Tulameen, will happily grow and crop when planted in large patio containers or even a Miracle-Gro Gro Your Own Vegetable & Fruit Giant Planter. A giant planter or large pot will grow 3 canes, although the compost will need to be kept moist throughout the growing season.

Crop typeSuggested varieties
Summer cropMalling Jewel (early season),
Glen Ample (mid season),
Glen Magna (late season)
Autumn fruitingAutumn Bliss, Allgold, Joan J
Container grownTulameen

Planting

Plant bare root canes in the winter. November or December are best, although it can be done right up to the end of March. Dig a trench 45cm (18in) wide and 20cm deep and cover the base with a good layer of Levington Organic Blend Soil Conditioner. Dig this into the base of the trench and then plant the canes allowing 45cm between each cane. Replace the soil and gently firm. Feed the soil with a handful of Miracle-Gro Gro Your Own Vegetable & Fruit Pland Food around each cane. Finally cut the canes back to around 15cm (6in) from the ground to encourage strong new growth.

Support

Knock in sturdy posts at the end of each row and stretch heavy-guage wires between the posts at around 70cm, 1.2m and 1.7m above ground. Tie the canes to the wires with soft twine.

Care

Water the newly planted canes during the first season if the weather is dry. In subsequent years watering when the fruits are swelling may be needed if the soil is not already moist. Pruning of summer varieties of raspberries should take place after the last fruit has been picked. Cut down all the dark brown canes that have born fruit that summer, retaining the best 6 new canes for next year’s crop. All canes of Autumn varieties should be cut back in February. Tie new canes to the wires as they grow.

For maximum crops feed each year in March with Miracle-Gro Gro Your Own Vegetable & Fruit Pland Food. To retain moisture at the roots, add a mulch layer of Miracle-Gro Soil Improver around the base of the canes each year. Don’t use the hoe to keep weeds under control, as this will physically damage the surface roots.

Harvest

Allow the fruits to turn full colour before gently pulling away from the stem. Pick every day and store in the fridge until you have enough for a meal. If you have more than you can eat, raspberries freeze well and once thawed retain their form, colour and taste.

Pests

In some areas garden birds will eat nearly ripened fruit before you can pick them. In that case you will need to net the crop carefully so you get your just rewards. The caterpillar-like grubs of the raspberry beetle can be a nuisance, but can be controlled with BugClear Gun! for Fruit & Veg sprayed when the first fruits start to turn pink.

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