An amateur attempt to grow raspberries

21:28, Dec 03 2012

There is nothing like a fresh raspberry. They're soft and sweet and kind of fuzzy in your mouth. They're little explosions of yumminess. I used to buy them when I lived in London, popping around the corner from my office to the Sainsbury's, going through a punnet an afternoon. They were imported from Spain. I was hooked.

If there is one magic trick I want to be able to pull off in the garden, it's to grow so many raspberries that I have loads to freeze and use throughout the year in smoothies and baking. I know that's pretty near impossible: for one, I don't have the space, and, second, I'm proving to be rather hopeless at growing them. 

I built the berry bed back in March for blueberries and raspberries. They like free-draining soil, and with the concrete clay soil I have to work with, it's just easier to build a no-dig raised bed made of all sorts of goodies, like compost, manure, leaf mould and straw. I have only two raspberry plants - Aspiring and Ivory from Incredible Edibles - and if the books I've read are to be believed, I should have made some supports with horizontal wires at 45cm intervals before they started to grow like billy-o. Instead I did it at the weekend, stabbing myself with the thorns and finding it hard to identify which canes went where. 

I've read that raspberries fruit on one-year-old canes, but as I planted the Aspiring in a totally ridiculous site last year (where the chooks obsessively dug it up again and again) it has only one cane from last year, which will mean slim pickings. The Ivory has only new wood on it as it's a new plant. 

The good thing about how the two plants are growing is that they are both putting out suckers like crazy. Suckers are shoots that come off the roots, and pop up above the soil. At the end of the growing season, you detach the suckers, let them root, then replant them where you want them to go. Then I can line them up so they can attach to the supports. An orderly garden, that's what I like.

And lots and lots of raspberries.

Do you grow raspberries? How are they going this year? 

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