When to plant raspberry bushes – key dates for your diary

Monty Don shares tips on growing raspberries in a pot

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Growing your own fruit will always taste sweeter than buying from the supermarket. Raspberries are as easy to grow as they are to eat. These are the key dates you need to know, and some tips to get your raspberry plant off to a flying start.

Irresistibly sweet-tasting, have you thought about growing your own raspberries?

These delicious summer fruits are actually very easy to grow, although not as commonly grown as strawberry plants.

Once you’ve grown your crop of raspberries you can eat them as they are, put them in a fruit salad or even freeze them to enjoy throughout the winter.

A successful raspberry plant can give you fruit for many years.

When to plant raspberries

Raspberries can be planted during ‘dormant season’ meaning the winter months from October to March, as long as the ground is not too soggy and there’s no frost on the ground.

A mild day in autumn is a great time to get out in the garden and plant your raspberries.

You can get summer-fruiting raspberries and autumn-fruiting varieties too.

Choose a sunny spot in your garden where the soil has good drainage. Adding compost or manure will get the plants off to a good start.

Monty Don advocates soaking the roots of the plants in water before planting them.

The canes will usually be pruned when you buy them, otherwise cut the plants down to about 25cm to encourage lots of shoots.

Summer-fruiting varieties usually bear fruit after a year of growth.

If you’re planting a few raspberry plants, be sure to leave space between them.

Raspberries grow tall so you might consider knocking in posts to support the plants, as well as using canes or string to guide their growth and keep them apart from each other.

This will also protect them from being blown around, which can cause damage to the raspberries.

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How to look after raspberries

When springtime comes around, your raspberries will appreciate a good feeding of fertiliser as they hit their growth spurt.

Keep them well-watered during dry weather and watch out for any weeds or rot on your plants.

Key dates for your diary

  • November – March: This is the ideal time to plant raspberries
  • April – May: Treat your plants to some fertiliser and make sure they are watered during dry spells
  • June – October: Harvest your raspberries as they ripen, a ripe fruit should come away from the plant with a gentle tug.

Seven of the best varieties of raspberry

Different varieties of raspberries bear fruit at different times over the summer, with some even ripening into Autumn.

If you want to enjoy raspberries over several months, you could plant some of each variety – but make sure you clearly label them.

Early Summer

Glen Moy – this variety will give you large and firm berries
Malling Jewel – this plant is a very reliable variety

Mid-Summer

Glen Ample – this disease-resistant plant is a heavy cropper
Valentina – this variety produces unique apricot-pink berries
Glen Rosa – this plant will give small and aromatic fruits

Autumn

All Gold – this striking plant bears yellow raspberries
Autumn Bliss – the name says it all, this variety produces large and flavoursome berries

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