There's nothing quite like walking out to your garden and picking fresh, plump raspberries to enjoy on their own or with cereal or ice cream. Raspberries are quite easy to grow, and whatever you don't eat right away can be frozen or made into preserves for use later in the year. Growing plants, especially fruit-bearing plants, is well-worth the effort.
Here's how to grow raspberries:
- Raspberry plants come in two different types: summer bearing and ever bearing. A raspberry plant with summer bearing raspberries is generally ripe and ready for harvesting in July. Ever bearing raspberry plants don't actually produce berries constantly, despite their name. These berry plants produce fruit for about three or four months, usually between August and October, depending on the climate and growing conditions.
- Summer bearing raspberries are a bit fussier and more difficult to grow, since they need nearly perfect soil and water conditions. Ever bearing raspberry plants are much heartier.
- When planting raspberries, choose a well-drained and fertilized spot in your garden to plant raspberries. They like a moist soil, with plenty of compost or organic matter. The plants will fare best in full sun, but those grown in partial shade can also be successful. Transplanting from a nursery is the best way to add plants to your garden.
- Place raspberry plants about two feet apart in rows that are spread about 6 feet apart. Early spring is the best time for planting.
- Dig a shallow hole for your plants, working fertilizer or manure into the soil as you go. Remove all weeds and other roots, as these will impede the shallow roots of the raspberries. Plant the raspberries and cover the roots with about 3 inches of soil, followed by a light layer of mulch. Keep the soil moist to allow the plants to thrive.
- Growing raspberries is rather interesting. Did you know that they actually grow from canes that in turn grow from the plant? The plants produce two season's worth of canes; the first year will sprout greenish canes, and the second season will produce canes covered in a very thin, brownish-colored bark.
- As the canes grow taller, you will need to insert posts into your garden and stake your raspberry plants to keep them standing upright, and resist damage or breakage. You can also use a trellis for this purpose.
- When your raspberry canes have started to produce fruit, keep the canes pruned after picking the raspberries. One of the best gardening tips is to never cut back newer canes that have not yet sprouted fruit, as these are the next season's crop. After all of the fruit has been harvested, remove all of the canes that fruited. After the last frost of winter, prune back your plants once again to provide good air circulation for the new canes to grow.
- To grow new raspberry plants from existing ones, pin the tip of a cane into the ground and allow it to root. Then, simply cut the new growth from the parent plant.