Raspberries are a surprisingly easy to grow plant that produce lots of fruit per plant. Also, they are divinely delicious straight off the bush. What does it for me is the texture versus the flavour. I love that when you pop them in your mouth they’re soft and furry then when you bite in, they are tart and juicy. Mmmmmmmm, hang on, just going to wipe the drool from my keyboard.
Rasberries come in two varieties, summer fruiting and autumn fruiting, it helps to know which of these you are growing in order to properly care for your plant.
Raspberries love the sunshine but can also tolerate partial shade. They prefer fertile, well drained soil that is slightly on the acidic side, if your solid isn’t acidic, you can add mulch of an acidic matter such as pine needles or bark. You will also need to provide some support for your plants as they grow very tall. You will only really need a couple of raspberry plants to get yourself a good crop. You can buy young raspberry canes in most garden centres during the Spring/Summer months.
Raspberry plants should be spaced about 30-40cm apart in rows spaced a metre apart. You will need to support your raspberries as they grow very tall and can be destroyed by wind. The best way to do this is to get yourself two posts and drive them into the ground a few metres apart (the distance will depend on how many raspberries you intend to plant). Using some strong wire, evenly space three lengths of wire horizontally between the posts. You can then use these to tie your raspberry canes as they get taller.
Raspberries need very little care. They hate weed competition though, so I would recommend keeping all perennial weeds in check around your raspberry bed. Every year or two, add a mulch of well rotted manure to your raspberries in early summer.
Like most fruit bushes, raspberries benefit from annual pruning. After fruiting, untie the canes and prune them back to ground level. In the winter, prune the canes back to ground level and remove any weak canes.
Pests and Disease:
Raspberry beetle is the main pest that could affect your plants. The stalk will turn dry at the end and there will often be white maggots in your fruit.
Grey mould is the biggest disease to contend with when growing raspberries, it causes your ripening fruit to rot, it is particularly prominent in high rainfall areas. To help control this, remove all dead or infected leaves and fruit from your plants and make sure there is no dead plant material lying around.
Cane blight and cane spot can cause the canes to wither and die, to help avoid this, only prune your raspberries in dry weather and always cut off any infected canes immediately, it can also be beneficial to improve soil drainage as this can contribute to rotting.
All that being said, I have yet to experience any problems growing raspberries, they are a wonderful addition to any garden, tall, with beautiful bright green leaves and we all know raspberries make the best jam. Fact.