Growing Raspberries from Planting to Harvest

, written by Benedict Vanheems gb flag

Raspberries ripening

Every garden should include ravishing, pop-in-the-mouth raspberries. Given the amount of space they occupy they yield a phenomenal quantity of berries, which are equally good eaten fresh or frozen to enjoy in the quieter months.

Raspberry canes grow best in a sunny, sheltered position, but unlike many fruits they will also grow quite successfully in a part-shaded spot. This cool-climate fruit loves soil that is rich and moisture retentive. It’s a good idea to add plenty of well-rotted, nutrient-rich organic matter such as compost, either as a mulch or by digging it in, to help support and feed your new canes, replenishing with more every year.

Summer Fruiting vs Fall Bearing Raspberries

There are two types of raspberry. Summer-fruiting raspberries develop their fruit on last year’s growth, while fall-bearing types produce berries on new canes.

A mix of both summer and fall varieties is a great way to maximize the period you are able to harvest these delicious berries.

How to Plant Raspberries

Start with one-year-old raspberry canes from a reputable nursery. In mild areas you can plant canes from late fall to give them a head start, but if winters are very cold where you live wait until the ground thaws out in early spring.

If you’re planting potted raspberry canes, dig a generous hole for each cane then fork in a bucket of garden compost.

Soak bareroot raspberry canes in water then spread the roots out along a trench

For planting bare-root canes, it’s easier to dig a trench for the row of canes, then spread the roots of each cane out along the row. Fill the soil back in and firm it down with your foot. Canes should be spaced 18 inches (45cm) apart, with about four feet (120cm) left between additional rows so they’re easy to access. Cut the canes back to nine inches (22cm) tall once they’re planted to encourage new growth.

Training Raspberries

Raspberry canes grow up to head height and beyond, so they’ll need a support system. Drive in two upright posts at each end of the row, then stretch strong galvanized wire between them.

The posts should be about six feet (2m) tall with three horizontal wires for summer-fruiting raspberries, or two wires for less-tall autumn-fruiting types.

Training raspberries on wires makes them easier to manage

Harvesting Raspberries

Pick raspberries as soon as they have colored up all over. The berries should detach easily from their central plug. Raspberries won’t keep for long, so enjoy them as soon as possible after picking.

We reckon the best way to enjoy them is with a dollop of Greek-style yogurt or cream, with perhaps an indulgent drizzle of maple syrup. You can freeze excess berries for use in smoothies and desserts, or make them into delicious raspberry jam.


Pruning Raspberries

Prune summer-fruiting raspberries immediately after you’ve finished picking them. Cut all the canes that produced berries back down to the ground. Use garden string to tie the strongest canes that remain to the wire supports. There shouldn’t be any more than one cane every four inches (10cm) of wire, so cut down additional canes.

Fall-bearing raspberries are even easier to prune – simply cut all the canes back to the ground in late winter.

Prune out the previous year’s canes on summer-fruiting raspberries

Keep your raspberry rows tidy by digging or pulling up new canes that grow well away from the rows. These are called ‘suckers’, and if your raspberry canes are disease-free you can use them to raise new plants. Dig them up, set them into a fresh area of prepared ground and water them in.

Raspberries are so easy to grow and packed with flavor, so you certainly won’t regret making space for a few canes. Hopefully this has given you the confidence to give them a go; or if you’re an old hand at growing raspberries, why not share your own growing tips or recommended varieties in the comments section below?

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Show Comments


"I am planning to build a raised bed in my garden for herbs, salad and soft fruits. I am a complete beginner! Are raspberries suited to grow in a raised bed alongside strawberries? many thanks!"
Kelly on Sunday 18 February 2018
"Hi Kelly. They should be fine growing together. The only thing to watch out for, however, is that the raspberries don't over-shadow the strawberries or flop onto them. Leave enough space between the raspberries and strawberries and make sure the strawberries will get enough direct sunlight."
Ben Vanheems on Monday 19 February 2018
"I have moved into a house with a well established old garden. While cutting back a BlackBerry bush I have found a raspberry bush. unfortunately I have cut a lot of new growth off. Will I be able to save it. I am new to this type of gardening learning as I go so very grateful for any advice."
Jo on Sunday 13 May 2018
"Hi Jo. It's likely you won't have irreparably damaged the raspberry. It may not fruit this year (though it might!), but it shouldn't have been killed off at least, and normal fruiting should resume next year."
Ben Vanheems on Monday 14 May 2018
"I just inherited a garden patch with 2 rows 20 feet long of overgrown raspberries. Lots of dead canes among crowded producing ones. I hardly know where to begin."
Karel on Sunday 20 May 2018
"Hi Karel. Cut out all of the dead canes and any canes growing away from the rows and their supports. You may need to thin out the remaining canes to de-congest them, to allow light and air to reach those that remain. This promotes a much healthier growing environment. Check out our other articles on pruning raspberries for more specific advice - just search 'pruning raspberries' in the search box at the top of this page."
Ben Vanheems on Monday 21 May 2018
"Why raspberries in the fall don't ripen. The patch is older and thick."
Mignonne on Monday 17 September 2018
"Raspberry canes can eventually grow old and unproductive. If they aren't producing as much fruit or failing to ripen, but you have enjoyed good harvests in the past, this could be the reason. It may be the time to plant new canes in a new area of ground, to stimulate better harvests."
Ben Vanheems on Monday 17 September 2018
"Do you have any advice on growing Youngberries? I believe they are a raspberry cross. My plant produces flowers but the bud whither before fruit is set."
Valerie on Sunday 30 September 2018
"The youngberry is a cross between a blackberry-raspberry hybrid and a dewberry. They grow in a similar way to blackberries and raspberries. If they are producing flowers, then that's a good start, but if they are then withering this could be a sing of poor fruit set, possibly as their aren't enough pollinators about. You could try planting flowers to attract pollinators nearby. We have an article on growing hybrid berries, including youngberries. Ssearch Choosing hybrid berries in the search field at the top of the page here."
Ben Vanheems on Monday 1 October 2018
"Hi, i have just moved into a new property with only paving slabs in the back garden. Is it possible to grow raspberries via pots? If not is there another fruit or veg better suited to pots i could grow? Thanks in advance"
Rob Broome on Monday 8 April 2019
"You can certainly grow raspberries in containers, which will need to be filled with a soil-based potting mix. Other perfect fruits for growing in containers are strawberries and blueberries. Check out our other videos and articles on container-growing - just search 'growing vegetables in containers' for a list of all our videos and articles on growing vegetables and fruits in pots."
Ben Vanheems on Tuesday 9 April 2019
"Hello, Thank you for the great article! Quick question. You said to pull up suckers that are well away from the main stem. What about those nearby? I planted a couple of bushes in early June and both have suckers (if that's the right term) closer by, as well as farther away. Thank you! Walter"
Walter Rosenberg on Thursday 3 October 2019
"Hi Walter. Basically you want to differentiate the new stems that are coming up to replace the old ones, with ones growing some way off that can't easily be tied into the supports to maintain a neat row of canes. So it doesn't really matter which ones you pull up, it's more about making it easier and neater to grow them. So pull up any further away that are difficult to tie in and cause the plant to 'spread' into other areas, but keep those you can easily manage."
Ben Vanheems on Monday 7 October 2019

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