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Now’s the time to plant Summer and Autumn raspberries


Photo: Harvesting raspberries

Photo: Harvesting raspberries

John was horrified when I decided to turn half of one of our vegetable beds into a raspberry and soft fruit cage.
“It’s taking up so much space!”
Close questioning revealed he didn’t like raspberries.

I love them. A small dish of raspberries sprinkled with a little vanilla caster sugar is the perfect end to a meal. And of course there is the delight of raspberry jam, jellies, wine, gin and vodka. The health benefits of soft fruit such as raspberries make them an essential part of a balanced diet. But if you have to buy them they are so expensive.

When you grow your own you can be harvesting them from late June until the first frosts if you choose early, mid season and Autumn varieties. We grow three varieties Glen Moy, Malling Jewel  and Autumn Bliss.

It was my friend Jo who introduced me to the latter. I used to think that it was odd that she only grows Autumn raspberries. I’d always thought of raspberries as a summer fruit. Until I tasted one.

Autumn raspberries get top marks for flavour and also for a long fruiting period. The first ones appear towards the end of August and they continue to fruit sporadically until the first frosts. It’s November and I’m still gathering a few each day to make some raspberry vodka having accidentally broken the bottle that we were saving for Christmas.

It took a while for our raspberries to become established. And now I know the two reasons why. They were planted at the wrong time of year and rather ignored. Once I twigged that they are greedy feeders and gave them a good top dressing of well rotted chicken poo in the Autumn and Spring they raced away. They also enjoy fertilisers high in potash.

Ideally all raspberry canes are planted in the Autumn or early winter. Although Autumn fruiting varieties can be planted as late as March. Thompson and Morgan sends out raspberry cane orders from the end of November.

The difference between Summer and Autumn fruiting raspberries is that the summer ones fruit on last years canes and Autumn varieties fruit on this years canes. That is why you cut down summer canes just after they have fruited to give them time to grow new canes for next summer. In February the autumn raspberry canes are cut down to ground level.

They freeze well too so there is no need to shell out pounds on those little organic supermarket punnets when you crave a berry hit out of season.

Warning : If you do grow several different seasonal varieties grow them in separate areas so you don’t get into a muddle over which is which when they throw up new canes.

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  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Joanna

    That’s brilliant – having all that fruit growing wild.

    After two years my blue berries were really prolific this year. I have three bushes growing in a barrel in the front garden. They are getting quite big now so I’m going to split them up in the spring.

    I tried growing myrtle and cranberries but they didn’t survive.

  2. The Latvians take great pride in finding wild fruit and you can easily find redcurrants, raspberries, strawberries, cranberries and blue berries at different times of the year. I shall get some cultivated cranberries and blue berries to plant at the bottom of the slope as they will enjoy the damp conditions down there.

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hi LindaM

    Oh lucky you a 20×20 raspberry patch! But as ours is much smaller it’s easier to control. If I see suckers outside the patch I dig down deep and cut the sucker back.

    I’m sure someone out there has a simpler method for controlling them.

    Hi Joanna

    I didn’t know such a thing as wild raspberries existed! Good idea to use the steep bank for growing soft fruit.

    Finally this year I’ve had the time to prune my gooseberries and currants so am hoping for a better harvest next year.

    Hi Paula

    Good idea to keep them in separate areas. The suckering is only a problem with older long established beds.

    Hello Alex

    I never tire of raspberries. I love homemade raspberry jellies too.

  4. I’m with you on the rasberries – they are the ultimate Summer dessert (and I prefer them to strawberries…)

  5. I ordered summer and autumn raspberries, and my garden plan has them separated for just that reason. But they won’t be shipped until January; they will be coming from Washington, and since the ground doesn’t freeze here in Oregon (at least, not in my part of the state), I expect that I won’t have any trouble getting them into the ground. I sure hope clay soil stops the suckering.

    And I ordered two cherry trees too, even tho’ my husband doesn’t like cherries!

  6. We have wild raspberries growing in on our land (Latvia for those who don’t know) and we left clumps of them for next year. we are aiming to plant a whole bank with berries of different kinds since it is too steep to regularly cultivate and we are not going to let it go to waste.

  7. Hi Fiona
    We have two varieties of raspberry on our farm that somebody else has planted. Both are early summer producers and both have escaped. How do you control a bramble patch? Last summer, I spent hours digging up and harvesting a 20×20 patch. By end of summer, their canes had been sent out again! While I love the berry, I don’t need it spreading like that!

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