How To Grow Raspberries
Raspberries are one of my favourite fruits and although foraging for them in autumn is always great fun, growing your own is super easy and with all the different varieties just three or four plants will supply you with fresh raspberries from summer till late autumn! They also freeze well and can be turned into jam if you have more than you can eat there and then.
The canes do require a bit of pruning know-how to make sure you get the biggest crop possible but any novice gardener will pick it up in no time.
Plant 15cm apart
Up to 20cm tall
The biggest difference between different raspberry varieties is the time of year they produce berries. Summer-bearing varieties will provide one large crop in summer. Ever-bearing types will begin to produce fruit in summer and continue through into autumn.
You can also select your plants based on their colour! Raspberries come in traditional red, shades of gold/yellow and black/purple (these are NOT the same as blackberries but that is a whole different story that deserves its own article as people often don’t realise they are two different plants).
These are some of my favourite varieties for our good old British weather.
This is my favourite yellow/gold variety of raspberries. They have a much better flavour than other yellow varieties and produce fruit from mid August to mid October. They will even grow well in a medium sized container.
A small red raspberry plant ideal for containers especially as it lacks any spikes, making it a dream to prune and harvest. It has a medium yearly crop that is spread out over a long fruiting period so you shouldn’t be left with more berries you can eat at once.
One of the most wildly grown red varieties the canes can get up to 6ft tall so it requires some space but will reward you with a huge crop even in the first year.
A purple raspberry that is very hardy and produces large sweet fruit early in summer. A personal favourite as it takes a bit less TLC than my other raspberry plants.
As with most fruits the soil’s nutrients are key to growing big juicy raspberries so make sure you prepare the soil with some well-rotted manure a few weeks before planting your raspberry canes into the ground. They also enjoy slightly acidic conditions so depending on your soil pH you may need to increase the acidity slightly.
Raspberries will also do very well in containers if you make sure the soil is kept moist and well stocked with nutrients to keep them going.
Raspberries are usually planted in rows and trained along wire and posts and there are a few different methods of planting your raspberries so you get the most fruit possible! Each one has it’s own benefits and they can be tailored to fit any garden space.
This method is perfect for summer-bearing varieties and can either be grown with access to both sides or just one, great if you don’t have loads of space!
Two fence posts are driven into the ground and wire is strung horizontally across the top, middle and bottom of the posts to create a raspberry “fence”. Raspberry plants are the planted along the front of your raspberry fence and one plant (unless a specifically small variety) needs about 2ft of space before the next one. Tie this years fruiting canes to the front of the fence and keep pushing newly sprouted canes behind the wire.
Separating them like this makes it super easy come pruning time when you simply cut back all the canes that fruited this year after harvest in mid summer leaving the new ones for next year. If you have access to both sides of your raspberry fence leave the new canes on the side you pushed them to when they first appeared simply securing them for winter.
If you don’t have room to get around the other side or your fence is against an actual fence or wall (a much more likely set up for most gardens) just remove the wire pull back the new canes and put the wire back in place behind them before securing the canes. TA-DA! Your set up is good to go for the next harvest year!
Single fence with parralel wires
This method works a bit better for ever-bearing varieties as their canes are all pruned back in February so don’t need to be separated like summer-bearing varieties. It takes up a little more room than a single fence as you need to access both sides but does keep your raspberry canes nice and tidy.
Nail two flat pieces of wood about 2ft long (pallets are perfect) to a fence post, one at the top (making a T) and one in the middle (making a cross) to make your first frame. Make another frame and then stake these into the ground facing each other. Run wire from the top left pallet to the bottom of the right pallet and then vice versa to make a cross each side of the fence post with space for your raspberry plants in the middle.
You shouldn’t need to tie your raspberry canes as they are contained within the wire crosses but you can also make these more secure by adding extra wire at intervals. Prune everything in February and then get ready for the growing bonanza till early summer.
Raspberries can also be planted in containers! Smaller varieties work really well in containers although after about three years you may have to move them into the ground/bigger pot as they will start to get a little squashed in.
Simply fill your container with a good soil-based compost that won’t dry out as quickly as multi-purpose compost. Place your canes around the edge of the pot and gently fill in and firm the soil up. Water well and feed your raspberries with potash-based fertiliser during the growing season (February till last fruit) to encourage loads of lovely raspberries.
Raspberries make good companion plants as their tall canes leave plenty of room for other plants to nestle in around their base. Garlic, onions and chamomile all work well and will help keep the less helpful insects like aphids at bay.
If your soil quality is poor you may want to grow plants such as legumes or marigolds as ground cover for a year before you plant your raspberry plants. The nitrogen fixing plants will work on improving the soil quality ready for those nitrogen thirsty plants such as raspberries. I did this for the first year in my garden as the soil quality wasn’t great in some of the back beds and sure enough the beans did me a solid and left me with lovely soil that produced really good berries for me the next year but also lots of tasty beans.
Harvesting raspberries is pretty easy simply gently twist the berries and they should pop right off. If they don’t come off easily or aren’t hollow (still have the green stem inside like blackberries) leave them for a couple of days and come back.
The berries will be sweetest when it’s nice and sunny plus you won’t get wet so avoid harvesting the rain.
Raspberries will only last for a few days after harvest so make sure to freeze any that you have extra. Frozen berries will last a fair few months in the freezer (although in our house they don’t make it past Christmas) and can be used in jams or baking once defrosted.
So now you should be able to get out and get some raspberries growing beautifully in your garden.
If you wanna learn what to do with all those lovely raspberries check out these recipes;
We hope that you enjoy learning all things raspberry! We would love to see your raspberry endeavours and feature you on our site. You can either comment below or subscribe to any our social medias for updates (or to updates us)!