How to grow organic raspberries

Grow organic raspberries at home in a well fertilized area in your garden. Add organic, aged cow manure and compost to the soil before planting to fertilize the growing plant. Plant raspberries in a sunny spot in fall in mild climates or spring in cold areas.

Types of organic raspberries

Summer fruiting raspberries grow their fruit on the stems grown the year before and prefer cooler areas. They produce a large amount of fruit in the summer and will stop fruiting quicker than autumn raspberries.

Autumn fruiting raspberries grow berries on new growth stems and are more tolerant of warmer weather. They are also know as everlasting as they will fruit for a longer time period between late summer, through fall and into early winter. They will give a longer crop over the year.

Summer fruiting raspberry plants will grow fruit on stems grown the previous year.

If you plant both varieties in your backyard you will have raspberries for most of the year.

How to prepare soil organically to grow raspberries

Before planting out raspberry plants prepare the soil in your garden with organic fertilizers. Raspberries need a range of nutrients to grow well. Prepare the soil with aged cow manure and a handful of organic pelleted chicken manure a few weeks before planting your raspberries.

Prepare the soil with organic pelleted chicken manure before planting raspberries.

Raspberries can be bought as small plants or bare canes. Both varieties like a rich, well-draining soil that is built up slightly to improve drainage. 

Adding organic compost either bought or homemade will help to keep moisture in the soil and will also add extra nutrients which will be available to the plant over time. Add extra compost or cow manure to the top of the soil around the plant root base in spring each year and your plant will grow well without adding any other fertilizer.

How to plant organic raspberries

One year old raspberry canes bought from an organic grower can be planted in late fall in mild weather areas. If you live in very cold areas, then it is best to plant canes after the last frosts of winter when the ground starts to thaw in spring.

Dig the soil over and make a hole the size of the pot that the canes came in.  If you are planting bare rooted raspberry canes then you can dig a small trench or hole to put the plant in. Backfill the hole with the soil that you dug out and water the canes in well.

The canes can be cut back to around 9 inches high and this will encourage them to sprout and grow when the weather warms up.

Prepare the soil with organic compost and cow manure then surround the raspberry with sugar cane or straw mulch.

If you are planting a seedling plant, then the same process can be used. The only difference is that the plant will start with leaves rather than looking like a bare cane. Make sure you space any plants or canes 18 inches apart so they have room to grow.

Staking organic raspberry plants

You will need to provide raspberry plants with something to grow up as they can grow over 6 feet tall. The easiest way to do this is to surround them with a wire cage. This can be easily made by making a circle with fencing wire. You can also use posts with wire stretched between them.

When to plant organic raspberries

In most areas it is best to plant raspberries in fall or winter. Once the weather cools off the plants will go dormant and will establish in the soil in the cooler months. They like a full sun position but will still grow and fruit in part shade.

Raspberries will gradually turn a darker red when they ripen.

Where to plant organic raspberries

The best place to plant organic raspberries is in open sunny areas in your garden.  They grow lots of fruit for the size of the plant and will grow to around 5-6 feet tall.

Mulching raspberries organically

Raspberries love moist soil so adding a good layer of mulch after planting is important to keep the moisture in soil. Use a light mulch like sugar cane or straw mulch which will break down over a few months and add extra nutrients to the soil while keeping weeds away.

When to pick organic raspberries

You should pick your organic raspberries as soon as the fruit has turned red. They taste best when allowed to fully ripen on the bush. They only last 2-3 days after picking so you can freeze any extra to eat later. Raspberries are easy to pick and can be gently harvested using your fingertips.

Best organic fertilizer for raspberries

The best organic soil improvers to use for raspberries are compost, aged cow manure and pelleted chicken manure. All can be dug into the soil before planting your raspberry canes or plants. Each year in spring add a mix of these organic composts to the top of the soil to give your plants a boost of nutrients for the rest of the year.

How to prune organic raspberries

Prune summer fruiting raspberries straight after picking the berries. Cut the canes down to 1-2 inches off the ground as these canes won’t produce fruit the next year. The remaining canes can be left to produce fruit in the next growing season.

Fall or everlasting raspberries can have all of their canes cut right back to the ground in later winter. These will grow back in spring and produce raspberries on the new growth.

Transplanting raspberry suckers

If you see raspberry stems growing away from the plant simply dig these out with a shovel. These are known as suckers and can be used to grow new plants. Simply dig a hole and replant them in a new space in your garden.

Keeping weeds away from raspberries organically

Raspberries do not like competition from weeds so before you plant them make sure you remove all weeds by hand first. Be sure to remove any weeds with runners like couch grass as this will be very difficult to remove after you plant your raspberries.

Adding a layer of mulch around raspberry plants 2-3 inches thick is the key to keeping weeds away organically. Any weeds that do manage to grow through a layer of straw or sugar cane mulch will be easy to remove by hand as they would have needed to stretch to grow through the mulch layer.

Growing raspberries organically – Summary

Raspberries are an easy to grow fruit that need organic compost or cow manure once per year to produce well. If you prepare you soil well and keep them mulched they will produce lots of organic raspberries to eat at home.

Happy gardening.

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