En­joy a fruit­ful au­tumn

Rasp­ber­ries are a sweet treat for the gourmet grower. He­len Bil­liald of­fers ad­vice on how to plant them and which cul­ti­vars to grow

Garden Answers (UK) - - Contents -

When it comes to sum­mer berries, rasp­ber­ries de­serve the crown. Not only are they de­li­cious, they’re also joy­ously straight­for­ward to grow. Choose a mix­ture of sum­mer- and au­tumn-fruit­ing cul­ti­vars and you too can have th­ese lit­tle jew­els from late June to the first frosts. That’s countless morn­ings sneak­ing out in your py­ja­mas to pick rasp­ber­ries for break­fast, weeks of rasp­berry muffins for the lunch­box, a jar or two of prize-win­ning jam, un­miss­able sum­mer pud­ding and lip-smack­ing rasp­berry coulis. To get the big­gest bowls of berries you want a fer­tile, moist but well-drained soil,

prefer­ably slightly on the acidic side. If you’re on very well-drained soil you may find au­tumn rasp­ber­ries crop bet­ter for you than sum­mer ones, thanks to the ex­tra mois­ture that au­tumn rains bring. Al­though plants pre­fer a sunny site, they’ll cope with part shade, which again may help re­tain mois­ture on drier soils. As a per­ma­nent crop (they could be with you for a decade) make sure the site is free from peren­nial weeds be­fore you plant them. Spread or dig in plenty of well-rot­ted or­ganic mat­ter and mulch heav­ily, ev­ery year. Th­ese are greedy plants and ben­e­fit from a scat­ter­ing of gen­eral-pur­pose fer­tiliser in spring.

Spac­ing & sup­port

Spac­ing and sup­port needs vary ac­cord­ing to whether you choose a sum­mer- or au­tumn-fruit­ing cul­ti­var. Sum­mer cul­ti­vars fruit on the pre­vi­ous year’s growth so canes need ty­ing in to sup­ports (use 1.8m/6ft posts and wires and space plants 40cm/16in apart). Au­tumn cul­ti­vars fruit on the cur­rent year’s growth so won’t need any sup­port, al­though they do have wide el­bows so space 60cm (2ft) apart. Source rasp­berry plants from a nurs­ery rather than tak­ing suck­ers from friends to make sure you start with virus-free stock.

Not only are they de­li­cious, but also they’re joy­ously straight­for­ward to grow

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