Tips for Growing Raspberries
are probably second only to in their popularity as a garden fruit. They are easy to grow and any surplus can always be frozen. Their main disadvantage is that they take up a lot of room; not so much from the actual ground area but because of the shade that they create.
Varieties are either summer (July/August) or autumn (August to November) fruiting. The normalthat you see in the shops are almost exclusively summer ones.
This raspberry carries heavier crops than the widely grown Glen Ample. First rate for both fresh fruit use and for jamming, etc. Its resistance to greenfly is good; therefore there is less risk of it contracting virus diseases. The fruits are large and sweet with a good ‘shelf life’. Spine-free.
The UK’s most widely grown variety of summer raspberry. Heavy crops of large, well-coloured fruits with a good flavour. Spine-free.
Though from a previous generation, this is still an excellent late summer variety. Large, dark red fruits with an excellent flavour Still well worth a place in any fruit garden. Not spine-free.
Regarded by some as the best of the early summer varieties. The berries have a very good flavour and readily part from the plug. Canes are spine-free and have a compact habit. Well worth a try. Late June to late July.
This has been around for some time now but is still regarded as ‘new’ to gardeners, although well known to commercial growers. The fruits are of high quality and yields are heavy. Nearly spine-free. Good frost resistance as the new canes are slow to emerge from the ground. Early July to early August.
Still the standard variety by which all others potentials are judged. The berries are firm with a very good flavour The canes are relatively short and sturdy but still need the support of string run along each side of each row. I’ve regularly picked Autumn Bliss in November, even in North Yorkshire.
A variety, which is a seedling or sport of Autumn Bliss (accounts vary) and similar to it in all respects except colour — its bright yellow!
This variety has very heavy crops; said to be double those of Autumn Bliss. Also, shorter and sturdier canes. Starts fruiting two weeks earlier than Autumn Bliss, Mid-July to October. Spine-free.
This is another very new one that was launched by Suttons Seeds. It is a Scotland-raised one that is still cropping well into November. Flavour is terrific, reminiscent of raspberry jam! Spine-free.
As one might expect, raspberries need sunshine for the fruits to ripen properly, to increase the sugar content and to bring out the true flavour. In addition, sunshine is required to ripen and mature the shoots so that ample and strong fruit buds are formed for the following year.
When to prune raspberries depends on whether they are the summer or the autumn varieties. The canes of the summer ones are produced during one year and they fruit in the following July/August. These varieties are pruned straight after fruiting by cutting right down to the ground those canes that have carried fruit. Immediately after pruning, the new canes are tied into the training wires so that they are spaced along the top wire every 4in (10cm). Preference must be given to the strongest and best canes and any that remain after tying in are cut out. In the spring, any canes growing higher than the top wire are shortened so that they don’t extend more than 9in (23cm) above it.
The autumn varieties are annual; they grow and fruit in the same year. They are not cut down to the ground after fruiting, but are left until the following March to give some protection to the stools (plants) during the winter.
The summer varieties need a permanent support system, but the autumn do not. There are several different arrangements for the wires but the best for gardens is obviously going to be the cheapest and easiest to install. The wires need not be put up until growth has started in the spring after planting, but most gardeners like to get them up and ready beforehand.
A post is driven into the ground at each end of the row; these should be strutted for extra strength and, if they are further apart than about 12yds (11m), intermediate posts will be needed.
Two horizontal wires are stretched between the posts. The bottom one 2ft (60cm) from the ground and the top one 4ft 6in (135cm). Having two bottom wires, one each side of the post, makes life easier during the summer because the new canes can be trained up between them to hold them roughly in place before being properly tied in.When the time comes to tie in the canes, the two bottom wires are simply tied close together every 9-10ft (2.7-3m). The canes are then tied to the top wire so that they’re about 4in (10cm) apart. Plant the canes 18-24in (45-60cm) apart.
Autumn raspberries only need support during the latter part of the summer when the canes are getting taller. A post is driven in at each end of the row and a- length of stout twine is run between them down each side of the canes and drawn tight so that it holds them securely. The twine is normally left in position until the March pruning. Plant them 2ft (60cm) apart.
The width of the row of canes should be restricted to a maximum of 2ft (60cm). There should also be 2ft (60cm) clear between each row. Thus, you have 2ft wide rows with 2ft between each.
As regards pests and diseases, raspberries get their fair share, but the most serious are Grey Mould (Botrytis) and virus diseases. Grey Mould is always worst in a wet summer and spraying every seven to ten days with a systemic fungicide once the disease appears will be needed to keep it at bay.
Stunted, deteriorating and even dying canes indicate virus diseases. Dig up and burn the victims once the symptoms appear because there is no cure.
Spray regularly against greenfly before they can infect the canes with virus. Puckered and stunted tips to the shoots may also be caused by virus. Use a systemic insecticide against the greenfly.
Maggots in the ripe fruits are the larvae of the raspberry beetle. Spray with a contact insecticide when the first fruits are showing colour.