The Best Way to Grow Raspberries

Grow Raspberries

Have you ever seen an overgrown raspberry patch in someone’s backyard? When the harvest season arrives the canes are dripping with luscious ripe raspberries, but they’re impossible to get to without wading through a sea of prickly canes.

It doesn’t take long for raspberries to spread and take over. Instead of being an anxiously awaited crop they can become a big pain in your garden. But, they’re one of the easiest and smartest fruits to grow in your yard. They’re expensive at the grocery store and even pricey at the farmers market when they’re in season.

At my last house I had one thick row of raspberries and at the peak of the season I harvested a big bowl each morning. More raspberries than we could eat! It was amazing.

Now that we have a new house, I set out to create a new raspberry patch in my backyard. I developed my planting system to allow me to control the spread of the canes so they don’t become one big mass over time. I’ll walk you through step by step how I planted my new patch last weekend.

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HOW TO PLANT RASPBERRIES SO THEY DON’T TAKE OVER YOUR YARD

Raspberries prefer full sun in order to produce a bumper crop. They also take up a lot of room. They probably aren’t a crop you want in the middle of your vegetable garden. Imagine brushing against their prickly canes every time you walk by.

Is there an area of your property that gets full sun and is underutilized? Or, can you add raspberries next to or near by your vegetable garden?

My husband and I decided to put our raspberries in a sunny corner of the back part of our property. The only things back there are our compost pile and weeds!

Once we decided where to locate our patch, we removed the grass using a manual sod stripper. This is the easiest way I’ve found to remove small amounts of grass. I don’t own one, I rent it from a local hardware store when I need it.

But, I love it so much that I’ve contemplated buying one. I use it several times a year to remove grass for tree planting, bed expansion, and edging.

 

Raspberries Garden

Using the manual sod stripper to remove the grass.

I removed a strip about 16’ long and 2 ½’ wide. Mark rolled up the sod and then transported it to the mound he’s building in our front yard. You could also compost it for a year and then add it back to a garden area when it’s broken down.

Garden Raspberries

The sod is easily rolled up into sections once you run the stripper through the area.

 

How to Plant Raspberries

Mark used the sod to help build his front yard mound.

 

Next I dug a shallow hole for each plant, down the middle of the bed and 2 feet apart. I added a handful of balanced fertilizer to get them off to a good start. Then, and this is an important part, do not plant the raspberry canes too deep.

The first time I tried to grow them I killed the canes by planting them too far under the soil. The roots need to be within a few inches of the soil surface.

 

Planting Raspberries

Plant raspberries every 2’ down the length of the bed.

I then watered in the canes with the hose and mulched the plot thickly with woodchips. But, I pulled the woodchips away from the root areas so they weren’t covered too thickly.

 

Plant Raspberries

Mulch the beds thickly with woodchips. Make sure the mulch isn’t too thick around the root zone.

Over time I’ll allow the raspberries to spread fill in the bed to about 2’ wide. This still allows me easy access for harvesting. Keeping the bed surrounded by grass prevents the canes from spreading too far outside of the bed.

When they do send a runner out it gets mowed down by the lawnmower, which keeps the patch in check. The grass does tend to creep into the bed over time, but I spend a little time each spring weeding it out.

raspberries straight from garden

There are two types of raspberries – summer bearing and fall (or ever) bearing. In Wisconsin, where I live, summer bearing varieties produce in early July, and fall bearing in late August/early September.

If you plant both summer and fall bearing you can have many weeks of fresh, delicious raspberries! But, do not mix the two types in one bed! They are pruned very differently so it’s important to keep them apart.

I recommend creating separate areas for each variety you grow. At my house I planted Latham, a summer bearing variety, in my back yard, and Caroline, a fall bearing variety, next to my side yard veggie garden.

It takes a few years for them to really get going, but once they do, you’ll be thrilled to pop out to your garden on summer mornings and pick a handful for breakfast!

Questions about planting raspberries? Leave them in the comments below this post.

More posts about growing fruits and veggies in your yard:

How to Grow Fruit Trees Organically

So May Choices! How to Decide What to Grow

How to Prune Your  Tomato Plants

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Comments

  • I have heard about an invasive fruit fly wreaking havoc on raspberry crops. Do you know if that affects summer bearing or fall bearing more? And do you have a plan for managing your raspberries if the fruit flies find them?
    Also, how do you keep rabbits away from your plants?

    • Susan- The Spotted Wing Drosophila has been identified in WI and has ruined crops. It seems like it’s not appearing until later in the season and is affecting fall crops so far. I might stay away from fall bearing for a bit to see how it develops. I’ll keep the community posted. I don’t have problems with rabbits bothering my plants. They’ve never been fenced.

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