Planting Raspberries –
The easiest way to grow raspberries is in a row, either up against a fence or supported on both sides by wires. The berries are easier to get to and pick if you can access both sides of the row.
Clear the area for planting, making sure to remove all the perennial weeds. It will be much harder to remove them when the raspberries are growing. Because the raspberry plants have shallow surface roots, hoeing around them should be avoided to prevent damaging the roots.
In the fall prepare the bed by tilling in lots of organic matter such as compost, peat moss or composted manure. Dig a trench a few inches deep and about 8″- 10″ wide. Plant young plants (which have been soaked in slightly warm water for about an hour) about 18″ apart along the trench, being sure to spread the roots. Cover the roots well and tamp down the soil. Immediately cut each cane down to about 1′ from the ground. Water in lightly. If you are making more than one row, be sure to leave plenty of room between rows, at least 6′, so that you’ll be able to get down the row. In the spring and summer keep the bed mulched really well to keep moisture in and to prevent weed growth.
Be sure to provide plenty of support for the tall, flexible canes.
Pruning Raspberries –
Raspberries should be pruned in the late winter/early spring before they bud out.
There are 2 kinds of raspberries, Summer Bearing and Everbearing. We have the Everbearing, but they don’t really bear all the time, just in the summer and again in the fall. The Summer Bearing bear in the summer, but I think it depends on the species as to when, in the summer, that happens. Or it could depend on the climate. Sorry, don’t know about that. If anyone does please comment.
The “How” is the tricky part when it comes to pruning raspberries. On both kinds, you prune out the canes that bore fruit, because they won’t bear again. Then, on the Everbearing, you prune out the weak and smaller canes leaving the tallest, strongest, thickest canes (5-6 per foot). Tie these up to some kind of support. We have ours against a fence, so that’s easy to do. Or…I recently learned that you can cut all canes down to the ground (late winter/early spring) and as they grow in the summer, prune out all but the tallest strongest canes, again, leaving only 5-6 per foot. They won’t bear in the summer but the crop in the fall will be heavier. This would work for us because our summer crop isn’t very big compared to the fall. I think I’m going to try this way this year to see how it goes. It sounds a lot less complicated.
You should wear good leather gloves and use sharp, clean clippers to prune the canes. If you’ll remember from an earlier post, I highly recommend deer skin gloves. They are the only leather gloves I’ve found that won’t let thorns in.
The Summer Bearers need to have the damaged or dead canes removed, as well as the ones that bore fruit in the summer.
Strawberries are so easy to grow, I’m sure that if they didn’t produce those delicious berries, they would be considered an invasive weed.
There are two kinds of strawberries. One will produce only one crop each year, while the other will produce a crop in the summer and one in the fall. These are referred to as Ever-bearing.
Planting Strawberries –
It’s best to plant strawberries in the early spring. Prepare the bed at least 2 weeks before time to plant by clearing the area and removing all the weeds. Dig in plenty of organic material such as compost and peat moss. Adding a 10-10-10 fertilizer is needed if the soil isn’t very rich.
Space the plants about 18″ apart (they will spread rapidly) and plant, spreading the roots and making sure the crown of the young plants are at ground level. If the crown gets covered it can rot. Tamp in the soil around the plant and water lightly (more if soil is very dry).
Caring for Strawberry Plants –
You will need to water regularly the first 3-4 weeks, during the critical growing time. Runners will be sent off the plant all
during the growing season. You can place these where you want another plant to grow. In the fall, carefully trim back all the runners, being careful not to injure the crown. It is important to mulch the strawberry bed to hold in moisture, prevent weeds and to prevent the berries from resting on the ground. Pick strawberries with the stem attached. Handle very gently to prevent bruising.