Raspberries - the easiest fruit to grow



The easiest fruit to grow is definitely the autumn raspberry, because you can adopt a simple low maintenance system of cutting all the canes back every February, negating the need for any supports. The fruit forms on first-year canes, or primocanes. You can adopt a more-complicated system of cutting only half the canes back in February, leaving the other half, and this will give you two crops - summer fruit on the overwintering canes and autumn fruit on the canes cut back in February.

The classic variety 'Autumn Bliss' produces large fruit from late-August until almost winter and generally avoids raspberry beetle if cut back every year. 'Autumn Bliss' also crops when soft fruit is in short supply and expensive. Other varieties include 'Tadmor', a new New Zealand variety with very large, firm fruit that appears after the summer varieties, but before the autumn ones. 'Erika' is a new, high-yielding autumn variety already winning plaudits. 'Polka' is also excellent, fruiting just before 'Autumn Bliss'.

Planting Raspberries

Dig a wide, shallow trench, sprinkle with bonemeal and plant the canes at 45cm intervals, (subsequent rows should be 1.8m apart), carefully spreading out the roots and back-filling with soil. You should be able to see the old soil mark on the stems, so aim to replant at the same depth. After planting cut the canes back to around 15cm from their base and apply a generous layer of mulch in spring. Raspberries enjoy summer rain, so water well in dry summers and feed during the growing season with a general purpose fertiliser such as Vitax Q4.