Finally I am getting round to planting up my fruit garden, by that I mean my raspberry canes, blackcurrant, redcurrant and gooseberry bushes. I’ve been a bit re-miss and shamefully admit that they have been sat in pots since mid November. My decrepit body is, I think, on the road to recovery so there is no better way to test that theory than a load of digging! Cue the big pile of manure.
I’ve marked out rows for the raspberries so now it’s time to dig. You don’t have to go too deep, one spades depth will be fine, but make sure you cultivate a decent width, somewhere around 50-60cm (raspberries like to spread out). The plants will be spaced about 50cm apart and there will be around 1.5-1.8m between the rows. Having removed any big stones and bits of root whilst digging and having added the aforementioned muck the soil is now looking lovely.
I have got bareroot raspberry canes, these are cheap and freely available this time of year. Unfortunately mine arrived when I was in no fit state to plant them so they have been temporarily sat in big pots of compost and given plenty of water. This doesn’t do them any harm and it’s handy to know when plants are delivered and you don’t have a minute to spare! If you are planting them as soon as they arrive always give them a good soak in a bucket of water beforehand. When digging out a hole make sure it is wide enough to spread their roots out before covering with soil and firming in. There is usually an old soil mark on the stem so you can see what depth they were planted at originally, try to match this.
The rows will have wooden stakes either end, they will be about 8ft, 2ft of which will be hammered into the ground. I will then run 3 wires between the posts at various heights to support the growing canes. I’ve hopefully managed to source these from a local woodland that sell timber produced as part of their forest management plan.
Once they are all planted and have been watered in well don’t forget to label them. I will prune my autumn fruiting canes down to the ground as they will fruit on this years growth. The summer fruiting canes will be cut down to about 30cm, this will encourage strong new canes that will fruit next year. So unfortunately there will be no fruit from the summer canes this year but a few from the autumn ones. When I have a plate like the one below full of tasty raspberries it will be worth the wait!