Growing Raspberries

Latest Update 9th August 2016.

Raspberries
  • I grow my raspberries in drip line irrigated beds these days.  Previously I had tried to grow them in Ecobins with not much success.  They quickly over-ran the space and made feeding them very difficult.  
  • They are growing very well in their new habitat with plenty of sweet and juicy fruit.
  • They share a small bed with hybrid blackberries, and I have to cut back their suckers in winter to make sure they don't swamp their bedfellows.
Details.
  • Variety:                                                       Autumn Bliss.
  • Family Group:                                              Rosaceae.
  • Garden bed type:                                          Drip line irrigated bed..
  • Recommended soil pH:                                 5.5 - 6.5.
  • Plant Spacings:                                            600mm
  • Good Companion:                                        Tansy.
  • Climate:                                                       Warm Temperate.
  • Geography:                                                  Southern Hemisphere. 
Nutrition.
  • This food is very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. 
  • It is also a good source of Vitamin K and Magnesium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C and Manganese.
  • More from nutrition data.self.com. 
Growing Conditions:
  • Full sun in cooler months. 
  • Minimise soil disturbances including digging to maintain a natural soil structure.
  • Do not allow the soil to dry out.
Feed the Soil.
  • To prepare a bed for new raspberry suckers, remove mulch and other organic debris from the previous crop and dispose of it in your compost heap.
  • Apply a 60mm top dressing of home made compost and cover with fresh straw mulch.
  • Leave for 4 weeks to build up microbial activity before planting new suckers.
Growing Instructions.
  • Suckers are one of the easiest ways to grow new Raspberry plants. 
  • In late winter, separate canes with roots attached from the main plant by cutting the roots that join them.
  • Trim back the cane on each new plant and plant the new shoot in a prepared bed.  Cover with fresh straw and support them as they grow with 4 wires threaded through star pickets.
  • Each year in September, remove old mulch and other organic material from the bed and dispose of it in the compost heap.  Apply a 60mm top dressing of home made compost and cover with fresh straw mulch.
  • Autumn fruiting raspberries carry their fruit on first year canes.  The whole plant should be left to die back in winter when the canes can be trimming to the ground.
  • Raspberries live up to 12 years and if left to their own devices, will send out suckers and occupy the whole bed.  Reduce the plant's size by removing suckers and cutting off unwanted roots, when dormant in winter. 
Organic Pest Control.
  • Slugs and snails.
    • Raspberries should be protected against slugs and snails using self adhesive copper tape bonded around the base of your raised garden bed.
    • If these molluscs get into your bed as eggs laid in your compost, kill them with organically approved iron based snail pellets as soon as you discover them.  You should only need to use a small number of pellets.
  • Caterpillars.
    • At the first sign of caterpillar damage, spray the crop thoroughly with Bacillus thuringiensis (Dipel in Australia)  This natural soil dwelling bacterium once ingested by the caterpillars produces toxins which paralyse the caterpillar's digestive system causing it to stop feeding.  It dies within a few days.
  • Greenhouse whitefly.
    • Aerated compost tea strengthens the plants foliage against whitefly damage.  
    • Control any infestations by spraying your crop thoroughly with organic horticultural oil (Ecfo-oil in Australia).
    • Spray again in a few days to ensure second generation whitefly do not survive.
  • Aphids (greenfly).
    • Use the same method as described above for whitefly.
  • General:
    • Regular applications of aerated compost tea boost the natural defences of plants by colonising the leaf surfaces with beneficial microbes.  They defend the plant against airborne pests and diseases.
    • Similarly, proper soil preparation including regular applications of home made compost boosts the community of beneficial microbes, which defend the plants roots against plant pathogens.
    • Exclusion netting stops birds stealing and damaging raspberies, and takes the edge off hot sunshine with a 20% shade factor.