growing raspberries: your raspberry bush will provide delicious berries for years

Growing raspberries is quite common in Europe and many parts of the United States. They are a delicious treat to eat fresh or in jams, jellies and desserts.

The raspberry, is a keto friendly fruit. It is a perennial related to roses in the Rosaceae family. Raspberry fruit may be red, yellow, purple or black. The yellow raspberries have the sweetest fruit.

Growing raspberries will reward you with delicious fruit for years.Raspberries a Delectable Fruit
Image by ulleo from Pixabay

growing raspberries

  • Raspberries will grow in almost all areas of the country, zones 4 to 8. They are self-fertile, so you only need one variety.

Where there is severe weather winter weather, in late fall remove the canes from their trellis. Gently bend them down towards the ground and cover them with a heavy mulch for the winter.

  • Growing raspberries need full sun. In the warmer climates, they would like some partial shade.
  • Good drainage is necessary for growing raspberries.

Raspberries can be grown as freestanding shrubs, if they are properly pruned. Generally they are staked or grown on a trellis. (Trellis system, below)

The fruit is produced on biennial canes (branches) during their second year, then the canes die. The perennial plant continues to grow and will give you plenty of fruit for 15 to 20 years.

SELECTING RASPBERRIES - Check with your local extension service to see what varieties of raspberries grow in your area.

There are red raspberries and black raspberries, also called black caps.

  • Red varieties; Fallred, Hilton, Indian Summer, Latham, Newburgh, New Heritage and Thornless Canby.

  • Black raspberries; Bristol, Allen, Cumberland, Blackhawk, Morrison and Munger is a commercial variety

  • Purple varieties; Clyde, Amethyst, Purple Autumn and Sodus is a hybrid of a red and black. It is a vigorous grower.

  • Raspberry Shortcake is a dwarf raspberry for growing in containers. 

PLANTING -  Make your rows 7 or 8 feet apart for growing raspberries. Plant the raspberries 30 to 36 inches apart.

It is essential they have well-drained soil that will retain some moisture. So mix plenty of rotted manure or peat into the soil before planting.

Raspberries are planted from dormant plants during the early spring.

  • If your new plants look dried out, soak them in water an hour or two before you plant them.

  • When you plant the red raspberries set the plant 2 or 3 inches deeper than they were at the nursery.

  • Black and purple raspberries are planted at the same depth they were before.

After you plant the raspberry canes in the soil, cut them back to about 6 inches above the soil.

Water deeply and apply mulch to retain moisture.

blackberries are grown much like raspberries

CARE - Be sure and keep the weeds down when you are growing raspberries. Do not hoe up close to the raspberry plants because they have shallow roots.

  • Water regularly, but don't keep the plants soggy.
  • Fertilize your raspberries each spring with a 10-10-10 fertilizer. Place the fertilizer a few inches away from the cane to prevent fertilizer burn on the cane.

Grow black cap raspberriesBlack Cap raspberries
Image by AKuptsova from Pixabay

The first year your new raspberry plant will produce 3 to 5 canes during the growing season. These canes will produce your berries the following year.

After a cane produces the berries, it will die. These canes will be cut off at the ground the next spring.

TRELLIS - There are many systems of trellising your raspberries.

A trellis keeps the berries up off of the ground. Growing raspberries on a trellis produces more fruit. Plus the fruit stays clean and is easier to harvest.

A four wire trellis provides plenty of air circulation and helps to prevent diseases.

  1. Place a strong, sturdy post at the end of each row. If you have a long row, place a post every 15 to 20 feet.

  2. Attach two 2x4s, 24 to 36 inches long, horizontally on each post to make a double tee. Place them at 2 1/2 feet and 4 1/2 or 5 feet above the ground.

  3. Insert an eye-bolt, 3 inches from the ends of each 2x4. String a wire (12 or 14 gauge) from each eye bolt to the eye bolts at the other end of the row.

Train up the berry canes between the two rows of wire.

You will have easy access to your raspberries at harvest time. They will produce more berries, than when the canes are lying on the ground.


Red Raspberries - Prune your raspberries in the early spring. Remove all dead or damaged canes. Let the raspberry plant develop suckers 12 inches around the original plant. Select 8 to 12 canes within the 12 inches around the plant.

  • Remove any suckers that have grown up between the rows.

Tie the canes to the top wire of your support. Cut the canes back to 4 1/2 to 5 feet. The fruit bearing laterals will grow from these canes.

Harvest your raspberry fruit when they change color. Check them each day, a deep red color with a dull coating means the raspberries are ready to be harvested.

  • Raspberries do not continue to ripen after they are picked.

Black Raspberries - Black Caps do not form suckers. You may start new plants by putting the tip of a cane into the garden soil. It will root and grow a new plant.

  • Black Caps may be grown as free-standing plants or on a trellis.

The first year just let the plants grow.

SECOND YEAR - In the early fall, head back the free-standing canes to 18 to 24 inches to force the laterals to grow. On a trellis head back the canes to 2 to 3 feet to force the lateral growth.

EACH SPRING - Prune in the early spring when the buds are swelling, but have not leafed out. If the plants have leafed out, pruning will weaken the plant.

Remove all weak, dead and damaged canes, cut them off at the ground.

Choose about 4 to 6 strong, healthy canes per plant. On strong canes, cut the laterals back to 10 to 15 inches. On weak canes cut the laterals back to 3 or 4 inches.

The keto friendly fruit will be produced on the side shoots that grow from these laterals.

  • As soon as you prune any berry plants, remove all the trimmings from the premises to prevent insect larva or diseases from entering the new plants.

Growing raspberries will give you an abundance of fresh fruit for the table, plus extra for freezing and canning.

gardening is such a joy!

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