Let's talk for a minute about raspberries. . .
In our harsh climate, red raspberries perform the best and are the hardiest of the raspberries. Raspberries need a cool spring to reach perfection, so crops may vary from year to year. Well-drained soil is also essential to good raspberry yield- if you haven't planted yet, and your soil is heavy clay, you may want to consider planting in raised beds. In any case, till in lots of organic material to help the drainage and to hold moisture. Raspberries also need lots of iron. Apply generous amounts of iron such as Ferti-lome Iron early in the spring. Ferti-lome Iron also contains sulfur that will help the soil become less alkaline, another requirement of great raspberries. Plant raspberries two and a half to three feet apart in rows that are seven to nine feet apart. The first year, the raspberry plant will produce three to five canes. These canes will be what produce fruit the next year. Most red raspberries set fruit on new growth that comes from year old canes. When the season is over, or early in the spring, all the canes that bore fruit should be cut off to the ground. The canes that came up as new growth should be thinned down to five to eight of the largest, strongest ones closest to the center of the plant, and should be cut back to about three feet tall. All the other new canes should be cut off at the ground. In the spring, any side shoots on these remaining canes should be pruned back to about twelve inches long. The new growth that comes off these pruned side shoots will produce your new raspberry crop. Failure to prune your raspberries will result in smaller yields of smaller berries. Raspberries do not appreciate cultivation- they like to be left alone- so sprinkle any additives on the ground and water in thoroughly. Adding these nutrients in the fall and then again in the spring readies the ground for a prolific, healthy crop. Raspberries will also produce much better if the soil is cool and moist- accomplish this by heavy mulching around the plants, which will keep summer heat from penetrating and save on water.