Although raspberries are not really fussy about their growing conditions, they give best results in a fairly rich medium-heavy soil containing plenty of humus. This encourages the development of many fibrous roots and strong canes which carry heavy crops of fruit.

Newly planted canes should be cut down to a bud 8 to 10 inches above soil level in early April. The remaining buds will produce a few fruiting shoots, but the effect of hard pruning is to induce one or two stout canes for cropping the following season.

Newly planted rows should be mulched with compost or well-rotted manure against spring droughts.

Glen Clova’ raspberries growing nicely
‘Glen Clova’ raspberries ripen early.

Very light ground, unless generously manured before planting and mulched annually, produces only poor crops. On such soils there is often a lack of potash which shows itself in the scorched edges of the leaves.

This shortage can be remedied by dressings of a good organic fertilizer while bonfire ash placed along the rows and lightly pricked in is helpful. Sulfate of potash is sometimes sprinkled along the sides of the rows but not on the crowns of the canes.

Sites are important and if possible, the rows should run north to south. An open, sunny but not exposed position is best. Avoid frost pockets and other low lying areas, otherwise some of the flowers may be damaged and crop will be light.

Clear the ground of weeds before planting. If not it will be very difficult to get rid of tenacious weeds such as bindweed, couch grass and convolvulus.

Plant from October onwards. Autumn planting is best since by the early spring the basal shoots are developing and are easily broken off. Even so, many gardeners do plant successfully up until April.

Space rows from 4 to 5 feet apart and allow from 15 to 24 inches between the canes. It is immaterial whether one permits the clumps to grow into each other or keeps them separate.

Plant firmly, and no deeper than the soil mark on the stems. Fruit should not be picked the first year, but strong suckers from below ground will bear fruit the following season.

Some means of support is necessary to prevent the canes from snapping in the wind and make it easy to gather the fruit.

The simplest method is to erect posts at each end of the rows running two strands of wire between them—the lowest being about 18 inches from the ground, the second strand being 5 feet from the ground.

If the canes are not very strong, use more wires and space them about 30 cm 12 inches apart.

Once picking has finished, cut out all fruited canes, tying in the new canes to replace them. Allow four or five new canes to each stool, removing all others, particularly those that are weak or small.

Always keep the crop well picked, for overripe fruit left on the canes is liable to attract mildew and other fungus disorders.

Recommended Varieties

Although many varieties have been grown, not all have stayed the course. However, the following are available and reliable in every way:

‘Baumforth’s Seedling’, sweet berries.

‘Deutschland’, dark red, delicious flavor.

‘Lloyd George’, heavy cropping, rich red well-flavored berries.

Among the autumn fruiting sorts, ‘Lloyd George’ must be included, for it frequently goes on bearing until October or later; others are ‘Hailsham’ an excellent variety with large dark red fruit.

‘November Abundance’, medium sized, dark red sweet and juicy fruits.

‘September’ is a firm red variety.

‘Glen Clova’ is an early ripening variety cropping over a long period; of excellent flavor, it is valued for dessert, jam, bottling, and freezing.

Of the yellow raspberries ‘Antwerp’ although introduced well over a century ago is still very good and in fair demand. It is a firm grower, freely producing large, roundish sweet berries.

There are also a few autumn fruiting yellow sorts:

‘Exeter Yellow’ produces a good crop of very sweet rich colored fruit.

‘Lord Lambourne’ is a splendid sort, rather like ‘Lloyd George’ excepting color: ‘Fallgold’ is a new golden-yellow raspberry bearing a heavy crop of large sweet berries over a long period.

‘Zeva’ is known as the perpetual fruiting raspberry. Of Swiss origin, it fruits on young canes from July until November. The berries are large and of superb flavor.