Raspberries are a shrub belonging to the Rosaceae family, in the genus Rubus. Raspberries are delicious and easy-to-grow fruits, suitable for any size of garden and even containers. Try growing both summer- and autumn-fruiting varieties – just a few plants will give you berries from mid-summer into autumn. If you end up with a glut, raspberries freeze well and make wonderful jams, sauces and desserts. Here is your complete guide to growing & harvesting Raspberries!
Where to plant raspberries?
– Raspberries thrive in moisture-retentive, fertile, slightly acidic soil (ideally pH 6.5–6.7), which is well-drained and weed free.
– Avoid planting in very windy sites, as the flowers are self-fertile and pollinated by insects. Also, the fruiting side-branches of some cultivars are very long and may break in strong winds.
– You can grow smaller varieties in large containers.
How to Plant Raspberries
– Select a spot in full sun with rich, well-drained soil.
– Before planting, soak the roots for an hour or two.Dig a hole that is roomy enough for the roots to spread. If you’re planting multiple bushes, it’s easiest to dig a trench.
– Whether you’re planting bare-root or potted plants, keep the crown of the plant 1 or 2 inches above the ground. Canes should be spaced 18 inches apart, with about four feet between rows.
– Fill the soil back in, and tamp it down with your foot. Once the canes are planted, cut them down to 9 inches tall to encourage new growth.
– Depending on the variety you plant, you may need to fashion a support to hold up canes. Many grow to head-height.
– Mulching is important throughout the season to conserve moisture and suffocate weeds. Keep a thick layer of mulch surrounding plants at all times.
– Water one inch per week from spring until after harvest. Regular watering is better than infrequent deep soaking.
– Prune summer-fruiting raspberries immediately after you’re done picking! Cut only the canes that produced berries back down to the ground.
– Keep your raspberry bushes tidy by digging up any “suckers” or canes that grow well away from the rows; if you don’t dig them up, they’ll draw nutrients away and you’ll have less berries next year.
– If you wish, you can replant the suckers and you’ll have new plants! Dig them up, set them in a fresh area of prepared ground, and water them in after planting.
– All varieties will begin to produce fruit in their second season. In some cases, ever-bearers may bear small berries in their first autumn.
– In early summer, berries will ripen over a time of about 2 weeks. You will need to pick berries every couple of days!
– Try to harvest berries on a sunny day, when they are dry.
– Don’t tug too hard on your raspberries when picking. A ripe raspberry will leave the tree.
How to Store Raspberries
– Raspberries won’t keep for long so enjoy them soon after picking!
– They can be kept refrigerated for about 5 days. Don’t wash the berries after picking, unless you’re going to eat them straight away. They will grow moldy and mushy if not kept dry in storage. If you do need to wash them, let them air dry completely before storing.
– Raspberries can be frozen! As with freezing blueberries, make a single layer of berries on a cookie sheet. When frozen, place into airtight bags. Use on waffles, in cereal, or whenever you just need a refreshing, healthy snack!
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