Many gardeners add berry patches to their gardening layout due to their easy nature and bountiful harvests. Compared to the amount of space they occupy, they yield an incredible amount of delicious fruit.
Raspberries picked fresh from the garden are a wonderful warm-weather treat! If you're thinking about trying your hand at growing some, the following tips will come in very useful.
1. Full sun location
Pick a full sun location in your garden, so your new raspberry plants can receive plenty of direct, unfiltered light during the day. They can be planted in partial sun spots but berry production will suffer.
2. Protection from the wind
It's important too that your raspberry patch be protected from the wind for optimal growth. Gusty winds can break canes, as well as dry out the soil quickly, creating stress within the plants.
3. Add 2-3" of aged manure or compost before planting
A couple of weeks before planting, incorporate 2-3" of good-quality organic matter, tilling it into the soil well.
4. Know your raspberry type
There are 2 types of raspberry plants: summer-fruiting and ever-bearing. Summer-fruiting plants only bear fruit once per season, usually in mid-summer. Ever-bearing raspberries produce fruit in the fall and sometimes the following summer.
5. Soak roots before planting
Before planting, allow bareroot plants to soak in water for a couple of hours. The moisture will break dormancy and kickstart the plants into growing.
6. Allow room for roots to spread
Dig planting holes much wider than the root ball on your plants, to allow roots plenty of room to move through the soil.
7. Keep crowns 1-2" above the soil line
When setting plants into their holes, place them so the crown (where the stem meets the roots) slightly above the soil surface. This protects the rasperberry plants from developing crown rot that could kill the plant. If you're unfamiliar with crown out, read up on it overe at Plant Care Today.
8. Mulch throughout the growing season
Berries prefer consistent soil moisture during their development and growth. Keep a good layer of mulch across the soil surface to improve soil moisture rentention
9. Prune shoots as they emerge
Raspberry canes send up/out a prolific number of runners and new shoots. Prune them as they pop through the soil surface, allocating all of the plant resources to mature canes that are producing berries.
10. Encourage bees to help pollination
Plant bee-loving flowering ornamentals in your yard or garden to draw bees into the raspberry patch. According to the University of California's Agriculture & Natural Resources department, even though raspberry flowers are self-pollinating, 90-95% of pollination is attributed to bee activity.
11. Keep birds away
When berries start to ripen, they will quickly become a revered snack for your avian friends. Cover your raspberry patch with netting to protect your fruit from the birds.
12. Prune at the end of the season
Summer-bearing raspberries develop fruit on two-year-old canes. At the end of the growing season prune old, canes down to the ground. The following spring prune the surviving canes to remove the spindly tips where the buds are spaced further apart, being careful not to remove more than 25% of the cane. With ever-bearing raspberries cut all growth back to the ground after plants have been harvested.