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Ever wondered what are the best plants to start with if you are a new gardener? Well, there are some plants that are very easy to grow. Raspberries are easy to grow, and can produce prolifically in the right circumstances. Here’s how to grow raspberries, and the best part is, you don’t even have to be a great gardener to get a killer harvest from your raspberry patch!
In case you haven’t realized by now, I’m a bit of a black thumb. Most everything I plant ends up dead. My initial strategy for that has been to plant lots and LOTS of things in hopes something would stick.
Now I know more, and I have better results. However, I’ve discovered that the best strategy is to pick plants that are pretty foolproof. Raspberries definitely meet that criteria!
How To Grow Raspberries!
Growing raspberries is pretty straightforward. You may not even need to purchase your first plants. Raspberries are so prolific that if you know someone with an already established raspberry patch you can just go and dig up some of the numerous suckers that have to be pruned away anyway!
If you want a special variety of raspberries, of course you can order them. There are many different colors of raspberries, not just red! You can get yellow or gold raspberries, purple raspberries, and even black raspberries.
Regardless of color, raspberries are divided into two different groups, everbearing and summer bearing. Everbearing will produce fruit in the early summer and again in the fall. Summer bearing will produce fruit only in the summer.
You could get an even longer raspberry harvest if you planted both types! Of course that will take space, as raspberries can be very enthusiastic.
Raspberries generally grow best in zones three through eight. If you are in a hotter area, you will want to select your varieties carefully or opt for growing blackberries instead.
The variety Dinkum was developed in Australia and can be grown in zones three through eleven. Dorman Red grows in zones six through ten and Tulameen in zones six through nine. Fallgold, Black Hawk and Cumberland all grow in zones five through eight. Here is a list of varieties sorted by type and including where they were developed.
If you don’t know your zone, you’ll definitely want to find that out! You can check it by zipcode or via map at the USDA site.
Spring is the best time to plant your strawberries. If you are planting bare roots, put them in the ground one month before your last frost. If your raspberry plants are already leafing out, wait until they aren’t in danger of getting frozen.
Dig a hole big enough for the roots of your plant. Space each plant a couple feet apart in a row two feet wife. If this is your first time learning how to grow raspberries, you may not realize that they will fill themselves in quickly!
Leave enough space between your rows that you will be able to walk down it to prune or mow volunteers. If you don’t maintain a walkway, pretty soon you end up with a raspberry jungle. It’s great for the birds, but definitely hard to pick berries in!
Along a fence is a good place to plant, as you can use the fence to support the raspberry canes. If you are planting your raspberries in another spot, you can make a quick and easy trellis using tall metal fencing stakes and rope.
Also make sure your raspberries are getting enough sunlight. They will need at least six hour of sunlight in order to fruit. Raspberries may grow in shadier areas, and you can still harvest the leaves for tea or animal fodder, however sun is required for fruiting.
Once you get your raspberries planted, they will do most of the work themselves! It’s a good idea to water them periodically if you aren’t getting an inch or two of rain weekly.
Keep your raspberry bed weeded. Mulches work great for raspberries, especially if you have acidic mulches available such as chipped pine branches. Bark mulch is fine to use and will break down more slowly than straw or leaf mulch.
When your strawberries are ripe, they will be brightly colored and soft to the touch. When you gently tug they should come away from the plant easily. It’s a good idea to harvest every day or two so you don’t miss any delicious berries!
You can eat your berries right away or store them in the refrigerator for a few days. If you want to freeze raspberries for later, it’s very easy. Just spread them out in a single layer on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer. Once the berries are frozen solid you can move them off the sheet and into freezer bags. You could also try making raspberry jam!
You don’t have to prune raspberries if you really don’t want to. However they grow so abundantly you really should do SOME pruning just to keep them under control. Part of learning how to grow raspberries is (unfortunately) how to hack them down as well!
If you are pruning raspberries to encourage one large fall crop, mow down all your raspberry canes in early winter or early spring. Fall crops only grow on first year canes. If you prune last years canes while the plant is dormant the roots will still send up new growth in the spring.
If you are growing summer bearing raspberries, you will need a different pruning strategy. Summer crops fruit on two year old canes. Let your two year old canes grow all summer, with the first year canes growing alongside them.
After you have completely harvested from them, prune back the older canes. Leave the new canes so that they can produce fruit for you next summer! To keep your raspberry patch tidy, gather up a group of six or so canes and tie them to your trellis or fence.
And of course to start a new raspberry patch you can always dig up and replant those volunteer first year canes instead of pruning them!
Raspberries are a great fruit for low effort gardening. Learning how to grow raspberries is straightforward, and they can produce years of great harvests once you get them started!
Do you grow raspberries? Share in the comments below!
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