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Raspberries are classified as summer-bearing or ever-bearing. Summer-bearing plants produce one crop in early summer, while ever-bearing plants produce crops in both spring and fall. Raspberries are brambles, plants that send out long thorny stems called canes. Popular varieties include Dorman Red, Latham Red and Raspberry Heritage.
Raspberries produce best when planted in full sun. Work plenty of compost and organic material into the soil. Sprinkle a cup of all-purpose 10-10-10 fertilizer over the planting bed and work it into the soil. As raspberry plants grow, they often require staking for support. Hammer in sturdy stakes or install a trellis before planting.
The best time to plant raspberries in most climates is in the early spring, after the danger of frost has passed. In warm climates, they can also be planted in the fall. Dig a hole the same depth as the roots and at least as wide as the roots when fanned out. Cut back the canes of the plants to 6" tall and prune any damaged sections. Place the plant in the hole so that the point where the roots join the stem is 1" below the soil. Backfill with soil until the hole is three-quarters full. Water well to settle the soil. Finish filling the hole and water again. Add mulch around the plants.
As a rule of the thumb, raspberries need 1" to 1½" of water per week. Fertilize in spring and summer with 10-10-10 fertilizer. Starting the second year, the raspberry canes should be tied to a trellis or support stake. The best time to do this is before the buds swell. Simply tie the canes to the support with twine. Nuisance canes should be removed from unwanted areas.
Tip: When pruning thorny raspberries, always wear gloves, long shirt sleeves and long pants to avoid scratches.
Berries ripen over a several-week period. Check the plants every other day and harvest the berries when they are at their peak of ripeness. Pick raspberries when they are plump and separate easily from the plant. They should practically fall off the cane with a gentle pull. Raspberries bruise and squash easily.
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