Preparing a New Raspberry Bed

raspberries

I’m currently preparing a new bed for planting raspberry canes. I really miss the raspberry patch from our previous kitchen garden, snacking on fresh juicy raspberries from the garden was one of the highlights of summer. So, I’m putting this right by making a start on the first raspberry patch here in the garden smallholding.

Bare-rooted canes are available to purchase from November and usually cheaper than potted canes, so I’d better get my skates on because I’m battling couch grass at the moment and I really want to be sure I’ve got rid of it, or as much as I possibly can before planting my canes. I’ve decided to grow autumn fruiting raspberries in this new bed, extending the picking season through to October. The berries of autumn-fruiting varieties are often larger than summer ones, and dare I say it, tastier. They’re also easier to prune (although summer canes are really not too difficult once you know how) and there’s usually no need for support posts.

new raspberry bed

As easy as raspberries are to grow, a little extra effort should be afforded when preparing a new bed. It’s important to clear the site of perennial weeds before planting as these are difficult to control once raspberries are established due to their shallow and delicate roots. I’m going to plant 5 canes in the new bed, a variety called ‘Polka’ has grabbed my attention. Once the bed is thoroughly weeded and well dug over I will add plenty of organic matter such as well rotted chicken manure (thanks girls!) before planting my canes.

Tidying Summer Fruiting Raspberry Canes

The summer raspberries are just about coming to an end now, they fruited well for new plants and being a mid to late summer variety they’ve been a real treat all summer long. Some of the canes are finished and looking scruffy so I decided to start the raspberry cane tidy up.

Canes producing fruit throughout summer will probably look tired and dead looking now, especially if they’re early fruiting varieties. Cut these canes down to just above ground level. You should have fresh new growth too, these are new canes which will produce fruit next year so don’t cut them down, tie the new canes onto the frame support instead.

Raspberries will appreciate an autumn mulch around the base with well-rotted manure or fresh compost. We had a bit of a glut with our summer raspberries even though I only planted 3 canes so I’d better look for some interesting recipes to store away for next year.

The autumn variety raspberries are fruiting now, I’ll never get tired of picking and eating raspberries – especially because they’re so expensive to buy!