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Don't be a fool, grow raspberries

IT'S funny how many gardeners share similar memories from childhood that they strive to recreate in their present day gardening.

IT'S funny how many gardeners share similar memories from childhood that they strive to recreate in their present day gardening.

It appears I'm not alone when each time I encounter that delicious raspberry aroma my mind drifts back to summer days eagerly assisting patient grandparents filling punnets among the rows of canes.

Dodging the nettles and chasing the butterflies, while trying not to flatten too many of the ripe berries between clumsy fingers, all form part of that vivid picture. How wonderful it would be to bring it all back.

While it seems raspberries are one of those plants we choose to grow "just as Granddad used to," there's much to be said for having a fresh supply of this most delicious fruit at our fingertips and just a few paces away from the back door.

Although there's probably no greater way to enjoy the fruit than simply with a generous helping of cream it's well worth exploring the other uses, such as squeezing your own juice drinks when they combine so well with other fruits such as oranges.

And don't forget to stock the freezer up.

To plant raspberries you must buy them as canes, which you'll find within the garden centre right now, but don't hang about as they only have a short season of availability.

Without a doubt this is the reason why so many people miss out on growing this wonderful fruit after they perennially miss the planting season, so don't get caught out any longer.

Many gardeners these days are realising the advantages of planting autumn fruiting raspberries in preference to the traditional summer fruiting varieties.

They will begin fruiting in August, well beyond the traditional season, and continue well into October, giving a continual supply of fresh berries.

Because the autumn croppers produce their fruit upon the growth made during the current season there's no selective pruning involved, a factor that can cause many to shy away from the traditional means of growing the summer croppers.

To make matters even easier, the variety Autumn Bliss produces sturdy compact growth that does not even require staking, which will dismiss the need to perform the annual ritual of tying in rows of canes which can become quite a bore for some.

If you are happy to invest some time however, you really should take advantage of the wealth of summer fruiting varieties available.

Most of these will produce some very heavy crops and supply you with bowlfuls of fruit during their shorter harvesting period.

Glen Cova is one of the most popular summer varieties and will reliably produce a heavy crop.

It's also perhaps the best variety for freezing on account of the small, firm fruit. If flavour is your goal though choose Malling Jewel, which is also very virus-tolerant.

Before planting any raspberries you should incorporate plenty of manure into the soil for they have a very healthy appetite, so add plenty of fertiliser such as fish blood and bone too.

The canes should be planted 18 inches apart, allowing plenty of room for the roots to spread, and if you're planting more than one row allow a good six feet between them.


Charlotte Neal
Chief Reporter (Aldershot)
Joshua Smith
Farnborough Reporter
Jon Couch
Sport Editor
Stephen Lloyd
Fleet & Yateley Reporter
Ros Collins
Junior News & Mail
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