Raspberry plants produce edible fruits called raspberries. They are fast-growing and have thorny short-lived canes, and the fruits are known to be antioxidant-rich berries. There are two main species; red and black raspberries. In existence is a purple raspberry, but it is a crossbreed of the two major species. The yellow raspberry comes about as a genetic mutation, which occurs in red raspberries.
The plant originated from Eastern Asia and spread to other parts of Europe then to the rest of the world. Currently, the U.S is the world’s third-largest producer of raspberries. In this article, we are going to discuss how the plant is grown.
There are two types; summer and autumn-fruiting raspberries. As the names suggest, they produce fruits during the respective seasons. The latter can, however, bear fruits during summer. A farmer should decide when it is convenient for them to harvest before selecting the type to plant.
Raspberry plants do well in fertile soils. Farmers are advised to do a soil test before planting, which is followed by an annual test to ascertain which nutrients the soil is missing. The plants are usually planted in rows with spacing of 45cm to 60cm then trained along a post and wire system.
Preparing the Beds
Raspberry Plants do not do well in soggy soils. It is, therefore, crucial to ensure the soil is well aerated by loosening the top. Also, it is essential to make certain that the trenches are deep enough to support the plant’s root system. All weeds should be removed to ensure that the plant does not have to compete with other vegetative matter for nutrients. The soil should also be mixed well with compost, garden, or animal manure weeks before planting to give it time to incorporate into the soil.
- The plant roots should be soaked in water for an hour or two before being planted;
- Gently place the plant in its hole then use a measuring stick as an easy spacer to set the next raspberry plant;
- Raspberry plants should not be allowed to dry during their flowering stage. It is, therefore, crucial to ensure they are well watered after planting;
- Apply enough mulch after watering the plants. The purpose of mulch is to prevent erosion of the soil by either water or wind and conserve moisture by preventing evaporation of water into the atmosphere. The mulch also keeps the soil warm, providing a conducive environment for the plant to grow.
Caring for Raspberry per Season
During early winter, a farmer should continue to water the plants even if they are not producing any fruit. It helps to keep the raspberry plant hydrated and also harden in preparation for the frost.
It is advisable to prune back the entire plant in early spring. The old canes should be the only ones pruned to give the new ones room to bear fruits.
Summer is usually harvesting time for most raspberry farmers. For the autumn-fruiting raspberries, however, this is the time they are prone to drying. They should be watered regularly, and mulch used to cover the soil and conserve moisture.
Pests and Possible Diseases
Raspberry plants are prone to attack by pests like aphids, cane borer, raspberry beetle, mites, and leafhopper, just to mention a few. They cause yellowing of leaves, slowing down plant growth, and in severe cases, stunting growth. The pests can be controlled by using the right pesticide products.
Most common diseases that attack raspberry plants include anthracnose, gray mold, cane blight, leaf curl, and mosaic. These diseases are usually caused by fungi or viruses and can be controlled by spraying, controlling the spread of pests, or cutting off infected cranes.
Harvesting should be done on a sunny day when they are dry, but first, one has to make sure they are well prepared. Baskets for holding the berries and gloves are all that a farmer needs. The best berries to pick are the ones which are firm, plump and do not have holes. Raspberries that have holes usually indicate that they had come into contact with pests, so they are not suitable for human consumption.
A farmer should ensure they do not tug onto the fruits too hard as they usually detach from the vine willingly. The berries tend to spoil very fast, hence should be preserved well.
Raspberry is a nutritious fruit that is full of antioxidants. Just like any other type of vegetation, raspberry plants should be well taken care of. It is the only way for one to get maximum yield and avoid losses.