DIY Guide To Growing Raspberries

By J Herman

Raspberries are great for everything from fresh eating, cooking and jam. And believe me when I say, thehomegrown stuff absolutely destroys anything you could buy in the store, with much stronger flavor. This isespecially true if you’re turning your raspberries into jam, which where you’ll really notice your homegrownberries shine through in comparison to their manufactured relatives.

On that note, allow me to give you a quick walkthrough of the process required to grow your very own healthy raspberries.

The Basics

Raspberries are found in quite a variety of colors, from yellow to red, purple and the well-known black. Yellow and red varieties are the only varieties that will grow well in Zone 3 and above locations.

A well-maintained and healthy crop should produce anywhere from 2500-3000 pounds of raspberries per acre, making these an option worth considering if you’ve got some space on your land and would like to earn some additional income.

However, do be sure to give yourself ample time to pick your raspberries – you’ll need to pick at least twice a week to avoid having too much fruit spoil.

Soil & Location ConsiderationsRaspberry plants are perennials, meaning that a well-maintained plant has the potential to last you for years. Raspberry plants thrive in slightly acidic soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.8. They can, however, tolerate pH as low as5.5 and as high as 7.5.

You’ll want to till your soil a year in advance and amend it with organic matter such as worms, compost or manure to ensure ideal planting conditions.

You’ll also want to avoid planting zones in a spot where tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant or strawberries have been planted within the past three years – also avoid areas in which wild raspberries exist, as these are highly disease prone.

Summer or Fall Bearing?Another consideration to make regards when you’d like your raspberry plant to bear. There are two categories in this regard, summer bearing and fall bearing.

Summer-bearing raspberries will produce one large crop between July and August, whereas Fall bearing raspberries will produce one large crop in the fall and a smaller one in the summer. This article gets into the biology related to the difference between summer-bearing and fall-bearing raspberries.

As for which one you should pick, I would recommend the fall bearing variety if this is your first time plantingraspberries, for a few reasons. With both types of varieties, you’ll need to remove old canes each year tomaintain a healthy planting. With the fall bearing variety, this can be done by simply cutting the entire plantpatch down with a sharp tool or even a weed whacker. The weather is also on your side, with plenty of rain andcool weather present during the fall to help your plants grow on their own.

FertilizingYour raspberry patch should be fertilized early in the spring – avoid doing so in August as this might encourage the plant to prepare for new growth when it should be getting ready for the winter.

MulchA layer of mulch that is roughly two layers can be a great help for your raspberry plants. Leaves, lawn clippings and wood chips make for great mulching material as they will keep in moisture and add nutrients to the soil as they decompose.

Harvesting & StorageWhen picking your raspberries, be sure to place them in a shallow container as they do crush and bruise quite easily. They can store for a few days in your refrigerator but can mold quite quickly under humid conditions.

Take care not to wash your raspberries before storage, as this will make them mushy and really isn’t necessary if your patch is clean and well maintained.

Jesse Herman is a contributing staff writer for where this article first appeared. He writes and produces video on Youtube.

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