Not only are raspberries easy to plant and grow, they also are a hardy perennial that continue to provide their succulent, tasty fruit for years to come!
Raspberries are becoming more and more popular as a home-grown fruit. Not only are they sweet and delicious, they are also quite the super fruit.
Raspberries are loaded with potassium and mega-3 fatty acids that help with both heart and blood flow. In addition, they also contain manganese.
An important mineral that happens to be extremely important in regulating blood sugar, and helping with good skin and bone development as well.
But let’s face it, the most important benefit of all when you grow your own raspberries is consuming all of those incredibly delicious berries. They are perfect for eating fresh, baking into muffins, tarts and cobblers, or our personal favorite, right on top of a scoop of ice cream!
With all of that goodness in mind, here is a look at how to plant, grow and maintain your own perennial crop of raspberry plants. Before you know it, you will be enjoying their fresh, wondrous taste summer after summer.
How To Plant, Grow & Maintain Raspberries
How Raspberries Grow
Raspberries have a unique growing style, but are one of the easiest of all perennial fruit crops to plant and maintain.
Like blackberries, raspberries are a bramble (cane) fruit. Brambles actually grow and produce their fruit using a 2 year cycle. The first year, as the canes grow, they absorb nutrients from the soil to build power for the following season.
In year two, the raspberries then produce their fruit up and down their canes. Although raspberries are considered a perennial, the two year old canes actually die off after fruiting.
But each and every season, new canes emerge from the root stock below to power up their first year growth.. And the following year, those canes produce their fruit to keep an annual supply coming on.
Varieties To Plant
Raspberries can be found in two distinct varieties, vining and upright. Upright varieties should be planted about 15″ apart, while spacing for vining varieties should be around 5′ (60″) between each plant.
Vining varieties can grow extremely long, with some types extending out as much as 15 to 20′. Because of this, they will need some type of support in the form of a trellis, fence line or grape-style vineyard line. Without support, they will fall to the ground and become easy prey for both wildlife and pests.
Even upright plants can use a bit of support, especially when loaded down with fruit. A simple stake or line can keep the canes from tumbling over.
Raspberries varieties can be found in both thorn and thorn-less varieties. Much like with their cousin the blackberry, there is much debate on which grows a tastier variety. One thing is for sure, thorn-less varieties are certainly easier on the hands to maintain and harvest!
Although red raspberries are by far the most well-known and recognized, there are also black and golden raspberry varieties that are just as tasty as their red counterparts.
Common Raspberry Plant Varieties:
Finding The Best Location For Your Raspberries – How To Grow Raspberries
When it comes to finding the best location for planting raspberry brambles, the more the sun the better. To allow the fruit to form and ripen, they need to have at least 6 to 8 hours per day of sunlight.
Another key factor to consider for planting is proper drainage. Raspberries do not like overly wet soil. In fact, they despise it.
It is important to avoid planting raspberries in low lying areas that can hold moisture for long periods of time. It can easily rot out the roots and severely limit their growth and health.
Instead, find a location that is on level ground or even slopes to help shed any excess water. Planting your brambles in a slight mound is another great method to keep the roots out of harm’s way. If planting on level ground, create a small 18″ diameter soil mound a few inches high to keep water from settling around the plant.
Planting Raspberries – How To Grow Raspberries
Although raspberries can adjust and grow in nearly all soil types, they do prefer slightly acidic soil. More than anything else, it is vital to have great drainage built into your planting mix.
The best way to ensure that is to add compost and sand into the soil prior to planting. The compost helps add vital nutrients to help establish good root structure. Meanwhile, the sand helps to loosen the soil and help excess water drain away.
It is best to plant in the early spring. Plants can be purchased as a potted plant or in bare root from. Either way. dig your hole so that the crown of the plant will rest an inch or so above the soil. This helps to keep the plants from becoming water-logged under the soil.
A good rule of thumb is to add equal amounts of compost, sand and existing soil back into the hole when planting. Adding in a cup of perlite to each planting hole can also aid in promoting better drainage and soil structure for new plants.
Caring For Your Raspberries – How To Grow Raspberries
Mulch your plants to keep the soil temperature regulated, and competing weeds to a minimum. Pine needles, which are slightly acidic, make an excellent mulch for brambles. Straw or shredded leaves also work well. A 3 to 4″ thick layer of mulch is more than enough to do the job.
Once established, raspberries require very little in the way of additional nutrients or added fertilizers. In fact, simply placing a few shovels of compost around the crowns of each plant in the spring will provide all the power they need.
Pruning your vines back is an important part of keeping them both healthy and productive. But with that said, how you prune depends on the variety you planted. And that can all be determined by how your raspberries are harvested.
If your raspberries ripen in the summer, cut back all brambles that produced fruit after they complete their production. This will allow all of the first year brambles to continue to grow and develop for next year’s crop.
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If, however, your raspberry plants are fall bearing or every bearing varieties, wait until the plants have grown dormant in the winter and then cut back all of the growth to the ground. Fall bearing raspberries will then shoot up second year and first growth the following spring.
Here is to planting and growing your own raspberry plants this year! Happy Gardening – Jim and Mary.
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