I love raspberries, but they are usually too expensive for me to buy regularly at the market. I have had a patch of raspberries sidelined along a fence for years. My fence-side raspberry patch is a good use of space, but I am not following all of my own growing tips! I need to thin the canes more and mulch, and did I ever test the soil ph? Below are 12 tips for growing raspberries in the home garden.
Twelve Raspberry Facts and Growing Tips
♦ Raspberry plants (the crown and roots) are perennial and will live for many years. Each raspberry cane is biennial and will die after the second year.
♦ Determine whether you wish to plant summer-bearing or ever-bearing (also know as fall-bearing) raspberries.
♦ Summer-bearing raspberries bear fruit on the second year cane (floricane). Ever-bearing raspberries bear fruit in the fall on the first year cane (primocane) and again in the early summer on the second year cane (floricane).
♦ Plant bare root canes in early spring (late winter for warmer climates) spaced every 2-3 feet. Plant potted raspberries anytime (best in spring).
♦ Plant in full sun to part shade (some afternoon shade is good for hotter climates) in fertile well drained slightly acidic soil with a ph around 6.0.
♦ Avoid planting raspberries where you have grown tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, or eggplants to avoid disease from verticillium wilt spores lingering in the soil.
♦ Mulch heavily around raspberry canes and feed with compost and/or a balanced fertilizer in early spring.
♦ Water about 1 inch a week to supplement rainfall as needed. Minimize damp foliage and rotting berries by using drip irrigation or soaker hoses instead of overhead watering.
♦ Keep the width of your rows at about 12 inches for easy access and to allow for adequate air circulation.
♦ In both summer-bearing and ever-bearing raspberries remove the second year canes (floricanes) after they die in late summer and fall.
♦ Thin your raspberries to 3-6 vigorous canes per each foot of row length once they become established and remove any sideways growing canes. I usually prune all my raspberry canes to about 3-4 feet in late winter. For a more detailed pruning explanation from the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture click here.
This summer and fall I plan to build several raised beds in my main garden area and plant new raspberry canes late this winter. I have seen other people with very productive small to medium sized raspberry patches. I am looking forward to maximizing my production of this delicious healthy berry.
Get started with raspberries even if you don’t have lots of space. You could always start with a 3-4 foot area and just plant one or two canes. You also can successfully grow raspberries in a large container.
I would love to hear your successes, challenges, or questions about raspberries. Are there any more tips or facts that I should add to my list?