Grow Your Own

Raspberries

Raspberries are popular garden fruits that are easy to grow. Try growing both summer and autumn-fruiting varieties: just a few plants will reward you with plenty of fruit from midsummer until mid autumn. If you end up with a glut, raspberries also freeze well, and make wonderful jams, sauces and cooked desserts.

Raspberries - tying in canes

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Grow

Site

Raspberries thrive in moisture-retentive, fertile, slightly acidic soils, which are well-drained and weed free. They dislike soggy soils and shallow chalky soils. For best results, plant in a sunny position (although they will tolerate part shade). Ideally, site your rows running north to south, so that they do not shade each other.

Raspberry flowers are self-fertile and pollinated by insects, so avoid a very windy site. Also, the fruiting side branches of some cultivars are very long and may break in the wind.

Annual care

In early spring, sprinkle a general-purpose fertiliser such as Growmore around the base of the plants, then add a mulch of garden compost or well-rotted farmyard manure. This will prevent weeds growing.

Keep raspberries well-watered during dry periods.

Pruning

Regular annual pruning will result in healthier plants and better quality crops.

Summer-fruiting raspberries

In early summer, pull up suckers between the rows of summer raspberries. Cut back fruited canes to ground level after harvesting in summer; do not leave old stubs.

Select the strongest young canes that have grown during the current season, around six to eight per plant, and tie them in 8 –10cm (3–4in) apart along the wire supports. These will fruit for you the following summer.

Remove the remaining (excess) young stems to ground level.

Autumn-fruiting raspberries

Cut back all the old, fruited canes to ground level in February. New canes will start growing in spring. These will bear fruit for you later in the year.

Reduce the number of canes slightly in summer if they are very overcrowded. Thin to around 10cm (4in) apart.

More information on pruning

Plant

Raspberries can be planted any time during the dormant season, between November and March, providing the soil is not frozen or waterlogged. They are sold as either: bare-root canes (the roots are exposed when you buy, usually mail order) or in containers.

Most people grow summer-fruiting raspberries, which are ready for harvesting in early summer. You can also buy autumn-fruiting raspberries, which are ready for harvest from late August to October.

Supports

Raspberries are usually planted in rows and trained along a post and wire system. But, if you have a smaller garden, you can still grow raspberries, either in containers (see below) or trained up a single post.

Single fence

This system is ideal for summer-fruiting raspberries in a small garden.

Drive 2.5m (8ft) long and 75mm (3in) diameter posts into the ground to a depth of 75cm (30in) at 5m (15ft) intervals.

Stretch 12 gauge (3.5mm) galvanized wire between the posts at 60cm (2ft) vertical intervals.

Plant the summer-fruiting raspberries and tie in the canes along one side of the wires.

Keep fruiting canes on one side and young new canes for fruiting next year to the other side of the wires as the season progresses. This way, the fruited canes can easily be pruned out and the young canes will be separate along the other side of the wire.
If you are planting more than one row, space the rows 1.8m (6ft) apart.

Single fence with parallel wires

This system is well suited to autumn-fruiting raspberries, and increases yield in a small space for summer-fruiting raspberries. Tying in of canes is not necessary as they are kept 'fenced' in by the parallel wires.
However picking is a little more difficult, and there is a greater chance of fungal problems in the more crowded conditions.

Drive 2.5m (8ft) long and 75mm (3in) diameter posts into the ground to a depth of 75cm (30in) at 5m (15ft) intervals.

Attach two short horizontal lengths of timber to each post, one at the top, and one 60cm (2ft) below.

Stretch 12 gauge (3.5mm) galvanized wire in parallel lines along the ends of the horizontal lengths of timber to create two parallel lengths of wire along the fence.

Stretch thin wire or garden twine between the parallel galvanized wires as cross ties, every 60cm (2ft) along.

The raspberry canes do not need tying in, as they will be supported by the parallel wires and cross ties.

Single post

This system is ideal for the very small garden.

Drive a 2.5m (8ft) long and 75mm (3in) diameter post into the ground to a depth of 75cm (30in).

Plant two or three plants around the base and tie in the canes with garden twine.

More information on support systems

Planting

Before planting, clear the site of perennial weeds, as these are difficult to control once raspberries are established. Dig over the site and add a bucket of well rotted farmyard manure per square metre or yard and a general fertiliser such as Growmore or fish blood and bone at 90g per sq m (3oz per sq yard).

Space the plants around 45-60cm (18in–2ft) apart if planting in rows. Top with a 7.5cm (3in) thick mulch of bulky organic matter. Avoid alkaline mushroom compost or overly rich farmyard manure, which can burn the new shoots.

Prune the canes to within 25cm (10in) of the ground after planting. However, summer fruiting rapsberries can be supplied as one year old canes (long canes). Don't prune these as they'll fruit for you that season.

Container growing

You can grow raspberries in containers.

Single raspberry plants can be grown in 38cm (15in) diameter containers of 80 per cent multipurpose compost and, to add weight for stability, 20 per cent loam-based potting compost, tying the canes to bamboo canes.

Keep the compost moist and feed with a liquid general-purpose fertiliser on a monthly basis during the growing season. In hard water areas try to use harvested rainwater.

Common problems

Raspberry beetle

Raspberry beetle: This is the main problem on raspberries. Dry patches develop at the stalk-end in midsummer, and often you will find a small white maggot inside the fruit.

Remedy: You can pick off the infected fruit, but this will not stop the spread. Grow autumn fruiting plants which are less affected.

More info on Raspberry beetle

Raspberry cane blight

Raspberry cane blight: Cane blight is a serious fungal disease in raspberries. During summer, leaves on fruiting canes wither and the bases of the canes turn dark brown, and the bark may split. The wood becomes very brittle so that the canes snap off easily at the base.

Remedy: Weak and plants under stress are more susceptible to cane blight, so make sure raspberries are well watered and mulch with well-rotted manure around the base to prevent drying out. When planting, make sure canes are well-spaced so that they have good air circulation. Where the disease develops, cut out and dispose of any affected canes. Cut back to below soil level and disinfect the secateurs between cuts.

More info on Raspberry cane blight

Raspberry spur blight

Raspberry spur blight: This is a fungal disease causing purple patches on canes. It rarely kills raspberries, but can reduce yield severely by weakening the canes and killing buds.

Remedy: Avoid overcrowding by thinning out any young canes that are not required. This should be done as early in the spring as possible. If spur blight develops, cut out and dispose of badly affected canes.

More info on Raspberry spur blight

Harvesting

The first summer raspberries are ready for harvesting in early summer, whereas autumn raspberries won’t mature until late summer. Pick on a dry day. Eat them fresh, freeze them, or make into preserves.

Varieties

Glen Moy AGM:This early summer raspberry bears heavy crops of medium to large berries, which have a good flavour. It may also produce a small crop on the new canes, in autumn. The spine-free canes are compact.

Glen Ample AGM:Delicious, large fruit produced in mid-summer on this extremely heavy-yielding summer cultivar with vigorous, upright, spine-free canes. The berries are produced on long, upright stems, making picking easy.

Autumn Bliss AGM:The short, sturdy canes of this popular autumn cultivar produce high yields from late summer to mid-autumn. The fruit is large and deep red, with a firm texture and excellent flavour.


Buy now

Do now

  • Prune out the fruited canes of summer raspberries and tie in new canes
  • Autumn-fruiting raspberries are ready to pick
     

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