Tuesday, 23 July 2013

How To Grow Raspberries

There is nothing better than fresh raspberries. They are this amazing combination of taste and texture. They are these velvety little vitamin bombs that explode taste when you squish them to the roof of your mouth. I have always felt that buying raspberries at the supermarket is an extravagance. They have to be the most expensive item per gram in the fresh food section. I remember seeing punnets of raspberries (which is really probably 2/3 of a cup) selling for $14!!!! When I say selling, I mean just sitting on the shelf, because who could honestly justify paying that much for a handful of berries. The only kind of person I can think of that might justify that cost, is a would-be-boyfriend trying to impress a girl with a home cooked three course meal, desert requiring fresh raspberry garnish. Oh the dilemma. Come up with a new desert to impress, or fork out for fresh berries???

I know they aren’t normally quite that expensive, but it got me thinking about how hard these berries must be to grow to be so pricey. After doing a little research I discovered it’s not that they are hard to grow, it’s that they don’t ripen after they are picked, so they have to be picked ripe and therefore don’t have a long shelf life. They also can only be handled once, as they bruise easily, so they are picked and placed straight in the punnet, packed into crates and transported to market.

Well I’ve decided I want loads of these tasty treats so I’m giving growing my own a try. Below I’ve covered the steps for planting raspberry canes. I’ve only planted mine recently so I can’t say I’m sipping on home grown raspberry daiquiris just yet, but maybe next year. I’ll keep you posted.

I’ve embraced a ‘no dig technique’ with my gardening which is basically as it sounds. Instead of digging into the ground you place soil/mulch onto the ground building a mound in which to plant things. What you will need is newspaper, soil/mulch, raspberry canes and a trellis. The trellis is used to support the canes. I concreted two posts into the ground and strung some wire up between them, but an existing fence or star stakes and wire would work as well. Raspberries like a rich, well drained soil in a sunny position that is also protected from strong winds.

1.       Layout newspaper where you want your garden to go. This will kill off the grass underneath and stop weeds popping up in-between. Picture below is showing my two original canes so we laid the newspaper around them.

2.       Mound up your soil and mulch. I’m using mushroom compost mixed with soil as that’s what I have at hand.

3.       Plant all your canes allowing half a meter or so between each one, ensuring that their roots are totally covered (a little helper comes in handy).

4.       Raspberries don’t like to dry out so make sure you water them in well.

5.       Apply a thick layer of sugar cane mulch over the soil as this will help them to not dry out (not pictured).

The canes will eventually send out suckers and other canes will pop up next to the original. Canes produce fruit once or twice a year depending on variety, then they die back. By the time that happens new canes have appeared and they will produce the fruit for the next season. The idea is that your original cane multiplies into a thicket. I bought 8 different varieties from www.diggers.com.au which will fruit throughout the year which will hopefully mean I end up with something like a regular supply.

Well, for those feeling adventurous why don’t you give it a go?

This is me digging a post hole for the trellis...if you've never dug a post hole, well...you don't know what you are missing out on.



  1. Hi, how are your raspberries growing? Do you think the no dig method worked?

    1. Hi Jane. I use no dig all the time with great success. Its particularly useful if your existing soil is no good/heavy. Initially I thought 'what have I done wrong' with the raspberries as they died back and didn't look like they were doing anything much at all. With the arrival of spring came new growth and loads of new suckers that appear to be flourishing, so I have renewed hopes of snacking on raspberries throughout the year. I applied a thick layer of mulch on top which keeps the soil from drying out and the no dig technique allows for good drainage. I haven't really given them much attention at all, although they would probably benefit from a feed right about now. Thanks for asking! x