When to plant raspberry canes – why now is your last chance to secure summer berries

Monty Don shares tips on growing raspberries in a pot

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Raspberries are loved for their juicy, sweet taste, and these bright red fruits come with a range of health-boosting advantages too. You can reap the benefits of this soft summer berry for free once your plant is established in the garden, but when is the best time to plant fresh raspberry canes? Express.co.uk reveals the key dates for raspberry plants, and why now is crucial for growing your own summer berries.

When to plant raspberry canes

Raspberry canes can be purchased in containers or as bare root plants, though both types should be planted out at the same time.

Growing your own delicious crop of seasonal berries should start in the dormant season when there is little to see or do in the garden.

While the growth of garden plants is largely determined by the weather, most plants stop growing between October and February, with new growth often visible from March onwards.

Despite the dormant period often ending around late February, the chilly weather means that raspberry canes can actually be planted out until the end of April in most parts of the UK.

According to Gardeners’ World, raspberries should be planted between October and April, with early crops ready for harvest as early as June.

There’s still at least three weeks left to get these woody fruit-bearing canes going in your garden, but it really is your last chance to plant them before the warmer spring weather arrives.

For a continual harvest from June through to October, it is best to plant a mixture of both summer and autumn fruiting raspberries in your garden.

Doing this will give you rich pickings right throughout the summer season, with plenty of fresh, juicy berries to enjoy for free.

How to plant raspberries at home

Bare root raspberry canes are ideal for spring planting because the roots have already started to shoot.

Look for moist, woody canes with an established root structure so that there’s plenty of opportunity for new shoots to appear once planted.

If your canes feel dry, soak the roots in water for a few hours before digging them into your garden beds and borders.

Most raspberry canes are usually pre-pruned and ready to plant, but you should cut them down to around 15-22cm if not.

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Bare root raspberries should be planted individually in an open, sunny bed, with moist, fertile and well drained soil.

Several canes can be planted together in a group to fill borders or a large container, but you will need to tie them into a central support post for a successful crop.

Dig a large trench (around 5cm deep) and position the roots so they are well-spread in the planting site with plenty of room for new shoots to appear.

You should space raspberry canes at least 45cm apart, keeping 1.8m between each row, according to Gardeners’ World.

Once your canes are in position and covered with soil, you will need to position some posts and wires around the bed so that the fruit can grow around them.

How to build you own support for raspberry canes

Wooden stakes, rods or posts are critical for a high-yield raspberry crop, and they’re very easy to do yourself.

The best way to support woody stems is to place two strong wooden posts at either end of the row of canes and run wires between them.

Tie the canes into the wire as they grow in order to create a fixed support for the plant.

For a pest-free crop, place a wooden T-piece on top of each post and lay bird netting over the top.

This will keep your crop full of fruits and free from damage by hungry wildlife.

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