If you have ever tasted the flaccid,
raspberries you get in the supermarkets, and eating raspberries freshly
from your gardens and homesteads, there is a very big difference! This
is because raspberries
taste, color and texture hours after
Raspberries need far more packaging
than usual because they
don’t travel well, and are really not suited for supermarket sales.
Raspberry plants are hardy, easy to grow, quick to produce a harvest
and grow well with little care and fuss.
Therefore well worth the
effort of the initial set up of stakes and trellis wire when growing
raspberries organically on your farms, homesteads and backyards.
In this growing guide we will show you how to grow raspberries
successfully no matter where you live. In fact, raspberries can be grown
anywhere, from the Arctic to the equator! With over 200
different types of raspberries you are spoiled for choice.
Raspberries are cane-growing plants
that grow 1.5 –
2.25 m high and grow well in neutral to slightly acidic soil that is
rich in humus but also well-drained. They do not do well in land that
retains a lot of moisture, nor do they do well in alkaline soils. If
the soil is too wet, the plant will develop root rot.
To increase the acidity in the soil
that well-rotted compost
has been planted before starting. Raspberries
also do not like lime, so do not add this to your compost
By planting the canes in late fall,
and by planting early, mid and late season cropping cultivars you can
have raspberries throughout the summer and fall months. If you look
after your plants they can carry on producing until they are about many
There are both yellow and red varieties, but the yellow fruit is milder in taste, and I have to say that I prefer the red raspberries. There are also orange, black and purple varieties.
If you want to make jams and jellies,
and pies with
the excess fruit, then you
plant between 15-20 plants per person
in your family.
If you are planting bare-rooted stock
you will need
these in water
that as some seaweed
fertilizer added to the
water. Soak for 30 minutes before planting out. The seaweed acts as a
tonic and will give your canes a good boost. When you plant them make
sure that you plant them at the same height as they had been planted
before, by using the soil line as a guide.
If you buy canes that are in bags of
your local garden shop or supplier, make
sure that these are not in
leaf already. Buying them when they are already in leaf
damaging your plants as you try to separate them at planting.
Dig a trench and fill with well-rotted farmyard
and compost. I also add a handful of blood and bone at
down the trench and sprinkle it on the soil and dig in well.
canes in rows from north
south so that they can get enough sunlight
2 meters apart. When planting the raspberry canes in the rows
themselves space them at 40-45 cm apart. The plants themselves should
not have their roots more than 5 cm below the soil line.
will need support. The best way of
supporting them is by placing supporting posts 2-3 meters apart use
stranded wire either in 2 or 3 strands for the canes to grow up
against. The strands can be spaced at 1m, 1.5m and 2m for support. You
really don’t want them to get beyond 2 meters, so once they get to this
height, cut the tops of to contain them at this height.
Once planted, mulch
the new plants to keep the
roots cool, but not up against the canes themselves as this will cause
disease. Raspberries enjoy a protected site that will receive afternoon
When the flowers appear in the spring
of water and add 2
teaspoons of Epsom
salts and 2 teaspoons Sulfate of
Potash. This will give a boost to the plants by supplying
potassium. Magnesium is
for producing energy, and potassium
is important for protecting the plants against disease,
the flavor of the berries.
As the canes grow, support with string,
training clips or even
jiffy ties work just as well.
Leave the canes of summer-fruiting
unpruned in their first
they will bear next season’s crop. In
second year and following years, once all the fruit has
picked, cut all
the fruited canes only down to ground level.
fruit on canes from the
previous year. Once they have borne their fruit, the canes
little worse for wear, and well-spent. These need to be pruned at
ground level, and the green canes need to be tied onto the stakes to
ensure good growth.
Ensure that all canes are tied into the
posts so that there are none on the ground. Any dead canes should be
pruned at ground level as well as any shoots that are weak. You want to
leave about 10-12 strong
meter, and remove any canes that are
growing far away from the parent plant.
Mulch the plants with well-rotted compost every fall and with cut
Lucerne in the spring. Water the plants well, particularly when the
weather is hot and dry and the fruit are forming. Once the fruit
appears, feed with a
fertilizer to give your plants a tonic.
raspberries are simpler to
prune: every year, including the first year, cut all the canes to the
ground once fruiting is over. After pruning remove any old mulch.
Growing raspberries for your family is
but growing raspberries for the local bird population is another. In
order to protect your crop from marauding birds you will need to drape
netting over the bushes. This needn’t be expensive. One
net curtaining but make sure that what you have chosen will still allow
enough light into your raspberry plants.
Raspberry Beetle (seen left).
For some, birds are not the
only problem. Raspberries can be attacked by the raspberry beetle, also
called the raspberry
which lays eggs which then later turn
into small worms, or maggots which burrow into the fruit and eat the
isn’t very big, but you will notice it
immediately when you see it. It is reddish-brown in color and has short
hairs covering its body.
By looking at the leaves at mid-spring
be obvious that the beetle is present as the leaves will be eaten away
in multiple strips inside the leaf boundary. The amount of damage to
the leaves will indicate to you how bad the infestation is. Once your
berries are infested those that have brown-grey patches at the top
edges are the ones that have been affected.
The worst of it is that after the worms
they fall to the soil and remain there until the following spring. For
those of you are not too fussed by the worms, you can soak the berries
in some salty water for about 5 - 10 minutes. This flushes the worms
out and the berries can then be used. For those of you who don’t like
the idea, and I am one of them, I have to confess, then you will need
to apply a natural insecticide like
to your raspberry plants to
prevent damage by this beetle.
You can also use pheromone
traps to allure
the beetles. These can be placed at regular intervals along the rows
and emptied periodically.
Another problem with growing
raspberries is a fungal
attack that grows on the canes in patches. You can see
the buds that start off as purple and then later turn silver and
finally spreading so that the upper canes die of. This is a problem
that develops during a particularly wet summer. The only option is to
cut out the affected areas and to burn the cuttings.
Grey mold can also affect raspberries
weather is wet. It starts off as a grey
fuzz that appears on the fruit
and spreads where fruit is clustered close together. The best way to
deal with this is to remove the bunches of fruit, and open up the rest
of the fruiting areas by removing a large number of the leaves that are
forming canopies that cause conditions that are too humid for the
plants’ success. By removing the leaves, you allow more air to
circulate and you allow more sun to get to the fruit.
Finally, watch out of plants that appear to be struggling to grow, are not producing as many berries as they should and which has tell-tale irregular yellow patches on the leaves. If you are not sure what it is, and you think that it is a mineral deficiency give them a good dowsing of the Epsom salts tonic mentioned below.
However, watch closely, and if your plants do not improve after this
application then it is almost certain that you your raspberry plants
have the Mosaic virus. There is no alternative, once this has been
established, then to remove the plants completely by digging them out
and burning them.
You will not get your berries all in
one go, they
will ripen over many weeks and therefore you will need to visit your
plants often to check when they need to be harvested.
If you have
planted the summer
rather than the fall variety you will be
harvesting your berries in July and August, if you live in the northern
hemisphere. Make sure that your hands are well protected from the
thorns as picking the berries can be a painful experience if you are
careless. Take the fruit and gently squeeze it, without damaging the
structure of the berry, and pull.
See more information on preserving
food and your raspberries.
This fruit is rich in Vitamin C, A, B1, B2, B6, C, E and K, manganese, fiber and high in antioxidants. They are also rich in folic and nicotinic acid and omega-3. Raspberries are considered on of the top superfoods due to their high levels of antioxidants.
Of course you can also find wild
raspberries as edible wild plants!
Do you have experiences of your own to send in? Just type it in and send it in. Or perhaps you would like to add to the information above.