So after a few weeks of a good supply of raspberries today C and I picked the last one. They have been looking a bit weak for a while now so I’ll need to tend them in the Autumn. J helpfully told me the other evening that they were going yellow and I must have been overwatering them (any problem we have J tends to think is either under or over watering). In actual fact on closer inspection it is only the canes which have had raspberries on this year which are dying off. The new growing canes are thriving. So in the Autumn I have to cut back all the canes which have fruited this year and leave those which have not to produce next years fruit. Thankfully it seems easy enough to see which are the old and the new canes. I’ve also now removed the netting and bamboo canes supporting it as there is no longer fruit to protect and they look much better without it!
So, this is the second year of our raspberries in pots and their first year fruiting. Now I couldn’t remember the variety and whether they were Autumn or Summer fruiting so wasn’t really sure how I was supposed to prune them if at all. As we’d had a house move and they had been somewhat neglected then I was surprised when the dead looking twigs that were left started to sprout leaves and then produced a good number of flowers and fruit.
What’s been quite nice about the raspberries is that they don’t all ripen at once so we have been able to enjoy (and still have more to enjoy) fruit for a good number of weeks. Not that I’ve been able to eat or preserve many as I would have liked too as C is a big fan of the pick and eat immediately strategy. She does let myself or J have the odd one but finishes all the rest straight away.
Our netting system has worked brilliantly and so far we haven’t lost any of our crop to birds. We have some arched canes in each pot tied together at the top and then have just draped the netting over them (see below).
Then when we want to pick we simply lift up the netting, pick and replace. Simple yet effective as a system as shown below.
The raspberries have started to show their first fruits which means we need to start protecting them from the birds. The last thing we want is all our hard work on them to become bird feed.
So our raspberries are in pots and as such do not need the support of canes so there is not a natural point for us to attach our netting to. So last week at the garden centre we purchased some bamboo canes and they are now sitting in the pots with netting covering them. The netting has a large enough mesh to ensure that bees can still pass through it but impossible for birds to get through. That is the major downside of soft fruits, the birds love them and netting can be a hassle and tends to look fairly unsightly. However, as it is only for a short period of time when the plant is fruiting it seems a small sacrifice for what will hopefully be a good crop of fruit. The blueberries don’t seem to be at the point of fruiting quite yet, and are likely to take at least another year to really get going but they will need protection too.
So the raspberries are currently in pots outside of the lounge window just below the window where my chair is. The raspberries have seemed to flourish the past few weeks and we’ve noticed a number of bees pollinating the flowers. It’s a lovely sight to see and I finally managed to get a picture tonight. Fingers crossed this means we will have some lovely raspberries come the summer.
So last year I got three raspberry plants to go in pots. I really wanted to grow fruit in the garden but at the time we were in our old house and looking at moving so it didn’t make sense to plant anything in the ground. They are a special type of dwarf raspberries which are designed to be grown in pots and as such don’t need canes. For some reason having to tie plants up to canes seems like so much work to me so I’ve always tried to avoid it where possible. I think I’m also concerned about the dangers of having canes sticking up from the ground with a toddler who’s only pace of walking seems to be running!
Now the first year they produced some nice folliage but no fruit, which is what we were expecting as the first year is a bit of a preparation year helping the plant to establish a root system and foliage. So from this year we should be expecting fruit, although I can’t remember if they are Summer of Autumn fruiting. I have to admit I’ve been skeptical as over the winter they have just been essentially a bunch of dead twigs. But come the start of spring they have begun to show new growth from the tips of the dead looking twigs and they seem to be thriving. My only dilemma now is how on earth to net them when the fruit starts to appear as the last thing I want is to have the birds steal it. They are currently beneath the windows of the living room in beautiful cream pots although I think long term I will move them as they will end up being quite bushy and could look nice near to the recreation area.
Long term I fancy having some Raspberries planted in the ground, although I know that will require the use of canes. Maybe once the big outside works are done then I can find a little patch for them to live. All three of us love eating raspberries and raspberry jam is one of my favourites to make (and one of the easiest to do) so it makes sense for us to have a good supply of them on hand. I think that can be a job for next Spring.