Posts Tagged ‘raspberry roots’

Over the last few days, a flurry of parcels has arrived, containing a gorgeous assortment of bare-rooted plants. Delighted to receive them all, but slightly panicked too as they all need planting or potting up as soon as possible, along with planting a whole heap of Tulips that are already lurking in the wings. Above is some privet hedging for a sad piece of land in need of topiary tlc, some autumn raspberries for a neighbour’s front garden, wild rose (rosa rugosa) for hedging and climbing and shrub roses that arrived today from Peter Beales too.

Why order bare-rooted plants? Well there’s often greater choice if you order bare-rooted plants and they’re also cheaper as there are no heavy pots of soil to transport (or indeed plastic pots to feed landfill sites with!) As the growing season slows down, plants that are now dormant and can easily be dug up and delivered far and wide.


I’ve recently noticed on the Twittersphere that Toby Buckland (previously of Gardeners World) has now started up an on-line bare-rooted nursery selling bare-rooted perennials and roses for autumn dispatch. His website looks very user-friendly and he’s a great proponent of mycorrhizal fungi as “its bacteria speeds up establishment and makes for bigger, better plants full of rude health!”. Must say, I’ve only used mycorrhizal fungi when planting bare-rooted roses before, but Toby’s ‘planting powder’ does sound very beneficial for one’s plants, so will definitely be ordering a pot or two of this helpful product to lavish on my next order of bare-rooted plants. On his website there’s also a very useful ‘how to’ clip for planting bare-rooted new plants -well worth a look.

Some of my bare-rooted arrivals are ‘Polka’ autumn fruiting raspberry canes (above) as I’m intrigued to see what differences there are between these fruits and my Autumn Bliss raspberries. I’m preparing the bed with garden compost and well-rotted manure and will now be sprinkling the roots with some mycorrhizal fungi (bought initially solely for the roses) to help the roots in establishing themselves (thanks Toby!). With all bare-rooted plants, soak the roots for 20-30 mins before planting and for raspberries, canes need to be spaced each about 40cms (16 inches) apart. Dig a generous hole, position the canes to be planted at the previous soil level, sprinkle the fungi powder over the roots and carefully backfill and firm the soil around the roots. Water in well and continue to water the plant should this unseasonably dry weather continue. There’s nothing more to do until Feb now, but click here for more detailed info on planting raspberries and how and when to cut back autumn fruiting raspberry canes in February.

Another welcome delivery is this Old Blush Climber rose. Unlike most other plants, you need to plant the graft union (the knobbly bit where the stems join the rootstock) a good inch below the soil level. Roses need good rich soil too, so mix in plenty of well-rotted manure into the soil and sprinkle the roots with mycorrhizal fungi before backfilling and firming the soil.

There’s still time to order roses, fruit bushes, fruit trees and all kinds of hedging as these can be delivered from November through until March, although the longer you leave it, the less choice there may be. Peter Beales supply great roses (and are very helpful on the phone) and this year I’ve ordered fruit canes from Victoriana Nursery , Ken Muir and Marshalls. The healthy looking privet (in top pic) was supplied by Hedge Nursey.

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Although it can seem quite bleak out there at the moment (February), small signs of life are appearing on the allotment and it’s time to cut back autumn fruiting raspberries before new shoots appear. Don’t be tempted to cut back summer fruiting raspberry canes though, as they produce fruit on the stems that grew last year. Pruning summer fruiting canes now will mean no raspberries this year!! so wait until your plants have fruited in summer and then cut back the woody canes on which the raspberries grew this year, leaving the fresher looking green stems to fruit next year.(More on this later in the year) If in doubt as to whether you have summer or autumn fruiting canes, don’t prune now and wait until your plant has fruited. Feeling experimental? Then cut back some of the canes now and wait to see what happens.

If you can already see a few tiny green leaves at the base of the plant, just be very careful where you prune, so as not to disturb these new shoots, as these will become the canes that your plant will fruit on in later on in summer. This year, as well as thinning out and cutting back, I’ve decided to move my raspberries to a different part of the plot, but not for crop rotation purposes. Raspberries, if kept in check and well fed, can stay in the same bed for many years.

So firstly, cut back all of the canes with a sharp pair of secateurs, as close to the ground as possible.
As I’m moving my raspberries (it’s a good time for moving both autumn and summer raspberries), I’m digging up the whole bed. Once dug up, you can see that raspberries are not deep-rooted. They mainly have roots that spread horizontally only a few inches below the surface of the soil. This makes them very adept at spreading all over the plot, so if you see canes in unwanted positions, then now is the time to dig them up. These spare plants can be planted in another row if you have the space, or give them to friends if you have a surplus.

Potager in Drum Castle Garden. Pic from http://christinelaennec.co.uk/

I’m giving some canes to a friend (Sarah) who wants to create a more Cottage Garden/ Potager style garden (where flowers, fruit and veg are all mixed into one glorious border), so these raspberries will be growing alongside lots of herbaceous perennials and small shrubs. Should work very well as pollinating bees attracted by the flowers will also pollinate the fruit and raspberries amongst the late summer flowers will look fantastic. Potagers are also a great way to grow fruit and veg if you don’t have the space for a separate vegetable plot, but want to grow your favourite edible plants.
Placing each plant about inches 16 inches (40cm) apart, I’ve replanted the raspberries in lovingly prepared soil (plenty of compost or well-rotted manure mixed in a few weeks before if possible ) and watered them in well. If you planting more than one row, plant each row about 5-6 ft  (150-180cm) apart. In late March, mulch with a good layer of well-rotted manure or compost which will help to conserve moisture. Some say that you don’t have to support autumn cropping raspberries, but in my experience, if left unsupported, the fruit- laden canes reach the ground, spoiling some of the fruit and making picking the rest difficult. In the end, to support or not to support probably depends on your particular plot and growing conditions.

Make sure you water during hot dry spells (here’s hoping!), then look forward to a late summer and autumn crop of very tasty, home-grown fruit.

P.S.I have pruned autumn raspberries in November and December and they’ve been absolutely fine the following year, but in theory, it’s  best to leave it until February, when the plant is completely dormant, so there’s no chance of the cold damaging the plant after you’ve pruned it.


I love my Polka raspberries.

October 26th 2011

Now is a great time to order and plant new raspberry canes for next year. Autumn Bliss is a very well-known and popular Autumn fruiting variety, but there are now quite a few new introductions such as Polka, Joan J, All Gold and Autumn Treasure and in fact ‘Joan J’ won best tasting Autumn raspberry in the ‘Gardening Which?’ trials this September. Both Victoriana Nursery and Ken Muir stock good selections of both Summer and Autumn Fruiting varieties and now is the time to order while they still have a wide choice of varieties available. This year I’ve ordered some new ‘Polka’ and ‘Joan J’ canes as I already have Autumn Bliss growing in the allotment and I want to see if there is a difference in taste between the two. I’m going to find a space somehow to plant these in my back garden so that I can pick this delicious fruit just outside my back door next year.

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