Grow summer’s easiest soft fruit Our handy guide to planting and pruning sweet and tasty raspberries
Carefree, colourful and delicious. Helen Billiald explains how to plant and prune sweet summer raspberries
Nothing beats the flavour of a just-picked raspberry; strawberries might have a better PR campaign (tie-ins with cream and Wimbledon), but given the choice I’d opt for the fragrant, sweet yet tangy taste of raspberries any day. Raspberries also carry the crown for the easiest soft fruit on the market. While strawberry plants need replacing every few years, blueberries want ericaceous compost and blackcurrants arrive in one massive (delicious) crop, raspberries are joyfully foolproof. And, if you plant autumn-fruiting cultivars, the harvest can stretch from July to the frosts. If you’re unsure about the difference between summer and autumn raspberries, it’s down to the age of cane that carries the fruit. Summer-fruiting raspberries produce berries in July on the previous year’s canes and need a system of supports to tie the tall canes to. Autumn-fruiting raspberries carry berries on the current year’s growth, don’t always need support and crop from July right through to the frosts. For a good choice of cultivars, now’s the time to order bareroot plants and prepare your site ready for their delivery from November onwards.