Raspberries are a delightful sweet fruit that requires very little maintenance. In a small garden plot you can grow enough raspberries to eat and make some delicious jam each year. Learn how to grow raspberries and how to make sure you have a good harvest.
Why I Grow Raspberries
I grow two types of raspberries, red and black, because I find them both delicious in their own way. (Rubus idaeus: red raspberries, Rubus occidentalis: black raspberries)
**A 10 foot row of raspberry plants gives you enough berries to eat in season and also produce plenty of delicious jam.
**These plants are typically perennial roots with biennial shoots: the first year they grow, the second year they give you fruit, then the original shoots die and new ones grow and they start the process all over again.
Raspberry Growing Position:
**They range in height from thigh-high to 6 feet tall, depending on the variety, so choose the plant and plant location carefully.
**Make sure they are at least 18 inches apart so they have room to grow.
**Prior to planting, add compost to the soil (learn how to make your own compost here)
**Do NOT plant in soils where Verticillium-susceptible crops have been grown (including tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplants, or strawberries) because they are very sensitive to that disease.
*It would be a good idea to add lime (like this) and phosphorus (like this)to the soil the fall before planting. In addition, add nitrogen (fish emulsion works well) to the soil in the spring just prior to planting.
*If you are planting dormant canes, plant in the early spring. Before planting, place dormant plant roots in water to give them a good soak, then plant in a deep hole and replace approx. half the soil with peat moss.
*If you are planting first generation plants, which are preferred, plant them as soon as the danger of frost has passed.
Raspberry Plant Maintenance:
**Red raspberries are the most winter-hardy.
**Black raspberries require summer tipping, which means that if you do not trim the tips, they will grow to unmanageable lengths.
**The more water you give to a raspberry plant, the taller it gets (so be careful not to give it too much water or it might get too tall…but don’t let it dry out either!)
**When watering the plant, aim at the ground, because if the fruit get wet too much, it raises the chance of them getting a disease.
**Weed control is important, especially in the first year. If you apply straw mulch around a new plant, this often helps hinder weed growth.
**You will get a full crop of fruit after about 3 years (though you will get some fruit before that). After the first year, very little needs to be done to your plants. Simply add a dose of fish emulsion (for the nitrogen) once every late spring season.
**The fruiting canes die after the fruiting is completed. These dead canes must be removed immediately after fruiting to improve air circulation for the next growth. Remove all dead, damaged or weak canes and thin the plants. Once thinned, remove the top ¼ of each remaining cane so that they are sturdy for the next year.
**All bramble plants should be harvested in the morning, after the dew has dried.
**While harvesting, make sure not to stack the berries too high or the bottom berries will be crushed. Keep the berries out of direct sunlight and refrigerate (or freeze) as soon as possible
For further reading:
**Click here to learn how to grow Blackberries
**Click here for tips on gardening.
**Learn how to grow tons of types of fruit here.