Growing Raspberries at the Allotment

Growing Raspberries at the Allotment

Raspberry is a cane plant and can be planted out from November to the following March, that is if the ground is not too frozen to dig. They work best as bare canes, cut back (during Spring).  

There are many varieties to choose from but two main types - Summer fruiting and Autumn fruiting. You will harvest a bounty of fruit from early summer or with autumn fruiting, this will start from late summer going into the autumn. Both will give you a plentiful crop. 

You can purchase bare-root canes that will be available when the plant is dormant or canes in containers, which are available more readily. Different varieties will produce different colours of raspberries, mainly a range of red, pink and purple shades and some yellow and black. 

To plant your raspberry canes, do this when the cane is dormant during the winter months - November to March depending on your location. They do not like very wet soil, which can cause root rot, or chalky soil. Slightly acidic is best and it is recommended that you add some blood, fish and bonemeal into the compost as well as mulch. 

A sunny but sheltered spot from the wind is ideal and there is no need to plant too deeply, raspberries' roots grow as runners underneath the soil. Space raspberry canes apart to allow room for growth, however close enough for them to offer each other support and shelter if required. Some varieties may require additional support as they can grow very tall. 

Raspberries come with their range of pests and diseases to look out for, the main problem being the birds.  You may choose to use a fruit cage. As stated earlier, mulch to prevent root rot and fish and bonemeal will really benefit your canes. 
Any pruning and thinning out of young canes should be carried out during the dormant months of winter to early Spring. Some rogue roots can be pulled up to keep control of your raspberries, avoiding weed killers, which can attack the main plant. 

Depending on the variety and type of your raspberry canes will determine when the cane produces fruit. You may get a smaller crop in the first year or may have to wait until the following year. 

You will see beautiful, plump fruit that is easy to pull off when they are ripened. The stem and core remain on the plant. Pick regularly and they can be eaten fresh. They will keep in a fridge for approximately 2-3 days. You will hopefully have a bumper crop and you can freeze them too. Freeze them in bags, spread out, laying down flat to avoid them getting squished!  

There is an abundance of uses for raspberries from fresh fruit with ice cream to jams, many desserts and juices. 

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Growing Raspberries in Summary

Planting Raspberries

  • Plant when dormant during November - March
  • Sunny spot, avoid open winds
  • Add mulch and fish bonemeal

Growing Raspberries

  • Prune or thin out when dormant to early Spring
  • Offer support to taller plants
  • Offer protection against birds

Harvesting Raspberries

  • Pick regularly when they are plump and easy to pull off
  • Pick on a dry day so they are not wet
  • Freeze in bags to store.