What you need to know about growing raspberries.
Updated: May 30, 2021
It is July, which I'm learning is also peak raspberry harvest season. I am literally struggling to keep up with all the berries that are coming in. Maybe this raspberry row was a bit longer than our needs... I am inviting my sister-in-law to stop by on her lunch break or whenever to share in the harvest. We have had a couple of other raspberry picking dates already. I am packing a container for my son's snack each morning as I pack his lunch (a concept that is blowing my mind and making me feel that I may, in fact, be living the dream). I'm making raspberry-chia jam. Pretty much living the edible landscape fantasy (one of my goals in life). Have you ever considered growing your own raspberry plants?
The first year you plant your plants, they are really just getting established. Actually, when they 'come back' the next spring, they will only be growing that year, meaning no raspberries by this time either. But hold on! Yes, it's a bit of delayed gratification for sure, but my blueberries still aren't really producing (actually most of them failed 😒 ), so the raspberries are giving me a better return at this point. Like, 1,000 fold....not that I'm counting berries as I'm picking and eating.
One of the key videos we found on youtube that helped us understand WTF was going on and how proceed is below. You see, raspberries produce canes, essentially these new shoots of growth each year that then produce fruit the following year. And after that fruit-producing year, they have to be pruned. You can tell which canes need pruning because they end up looking split on the sides, so you can prune with confidence. You will also have plenty of shoots you can dig up and share with friends and family (we dig and donate the ones that pop up out of bounds or outside of the row).
The first thing we did (or really my husband, David, did), was build a trellis. The trellis ends up hold these two levels of wire that help you by having something to tie the canes to. Otherwise, raspberries can get super messy and go cray-cray. The trellis in the video below is how ours looks, only we did not add the nice-looking molding cap thing on top....(I do have a wind chime, though...but it's currently engulfed in raspberry covered canes, 'chiming-in' when you work in that area).
Last year, I also failed to keep the bed watered enough, and after awhile some of the fruit never matured, it just dried up. So definitely keep an eye on hydration. This year, I can tell the ground is very dry and I've been watering, but soon will add some compost and a layer of mulch to help hold the moisture in. I would like to work on my irrigation set up, as well.
One of the things I'm starting to appreciate about gardening in my back yard is the waves or seasons of each fruit. In June it was all about the strawberry raised bed (I do recommend a raised bed as they spread so easily. Strawberries are another one you will be giving plants away at some point. In fact, that's how I got mine: A nearby neighborhood home was selling them for a couple bucks each). Now it's July and it's all about the raspberries. We actually are in our first year of blackberries as well and those are great! We are already getting fruit and I understand the season will be longer. It's also not such a massive amount of fruit (though I do think I ate like 6-7 berries today and did not share 🤫)
Building a trellis....
Pruning your canes and tying up the ones that will be producing fruit in the coming summer...
These are our raspberries!
Note the visitor to the patch escaping under the shed at the end!