We love raspberries at our house. A lot. They might be our all-time favorite crop. We had a beautiful little patch at our last house and in our current yard we have a 60-foot-long patch of four different varieties. It’s raspberry heaven around here every late summer.
But it took us three tries before we managed to get them to grow. I mean, they are practically weeds for most people, but we totally killed them the first two times we tried. So frustrating! Not ones to give up when there are delicious berries involved, I studied up and we planted again. Finally, success! Since then we’ve had a number of friends come to us for tips on growing berries and I thought I would share those tips here with you.
1. Plant at the right time- Early Spring is the best time to plant berries. They aren’t affected by snow or cold, in fact they do better if they can get established before temps start to soar in the summer.
2. Plant in the right place- Ideally you would prep your site in fall, so it would already to pop in the plants in Spring. Raspberries like well drained, weed free soil and at least a half-day of sunlight. Avoid spots where you’ve already had raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, or peppers. These plants might have left evil pathogens behind that would harm your new plants.
3. Plant bare root berries- You can find the widest variety of raspberries bareroot and they settle in faster. Bareroots are usually less expensive, too! And buy them certified disease free from a nursery, don’t be tempted to get them from a neighbor, they could have diseases.
4. Plant fall bearing raspberries, for easiest care. Also called primocane or everbearing, they fruit on the newest canes each year (and if those canes are left, will fruit again the following summer). So easy to prune, you can just cut all the canes down to the ground in either late fall or early spring. You can have a crop of raspberries the very first year of planting. Yay for not having to wait for two years like you would with summer bearing raspberries.
5. Plant them right- Soak your bare root plants for about an hour before planting. Space the canes 18-24 inches apart. Most bare root are shaped like an L, dig a trench for the bottom of the L, you want to make sure topmost roots on the plant are covered by about an half inch of soil. Firm the soil really well and water in. Berries do best with adequate irrigation, we love having ours on drip lines.
Those 5 tips, in my opinion, are the most important when establishing a new raspberry patch. Now for a couple of fun bonus ideas!
*Have fun with the varieties you choose. You can get regular old red raspberries at the store, so plant something harder to get like yellow or pink berries. We have Anne, a yellow, and Double Gold, a pink champagne color, and love them both.
*Find a berry patch nearby and go try the different varieties. Find your favorite and order those. That is how we found our two favorite red varieties, Caroline, sweet with a bit of tartness and Joan J, a thorn less raspberry. Just thinking about them is making my mouth water!
*Since this a flower farm blog, I should tell you that raspberry greens are a fabulous cut foliage for arrangements. Even the immature berries are pretty mixed with flowers in a vase. It’s one of my favorite greeneries to add to bouquets.
I hope these tips help you find success growing raspberries so that you can look forward to summers bursting with deliciousness!