Readying the Raspberries

Usually I take care of cutting out old raspberry canes in the fall.  This year, for whatever reason, it didn’t get done.  It was a nice warm day today, so I got out the pruners and tidied up the rows.  I cut out all the two-year old canes and tied last years canes to the trellis.

Raspberries come in “summer-bearing” and “fall-bearing” varieties.  I’ve got some of both.  The summer-bearing varieties come on stronger and give ample quantities for jam and freezing as well as eating.  The fall-bearing varieties have two crops.  The early crop grows much like summer-bearing varieties on the second year canes. Then in the fall you get a crop from new canes along the tips of the main stem.  You won’t get as large a crop in the fall, but they can keep producing all the way till Thanksgiving when there are no other berries around.  It’s more of a challenge to keep fall-bearing plants pruned nicely than summer-bearing types. It’s best to cut out the two-year old canes in the summer, right after they finish bearing, so that you can tie up the new shoots and keep the fall berries off the ground.

I’ve had the raspberries in the same spot near the fence for almost 15 years now.  That’s getting to be too long.  They are just not as productive as they were, and the trellis posts are rotting away – partly because it is too wet.  Raspberries like well-drained soil to avoid root rot problems.  Last year I started another row on the other side of the yard from shoots that came up in the middle of the paths.  They should start to produce this year and be at full production next year. I’ll probably retire the old patch this fall.


  1. Hi Gary–I migrated over here from the Friendly Farmers website. So excited to have another local blog to follow on Google Reader. Great stuff! We are relatively new beekeepers and read your recent post on bees with interest. We lost our hive over the winter for the second year in a row. Pretty discouraging! Still lots to learn. Keep up the great work on the blog! Robin

  2. Hi Robin, Welcome to Squash Practice! It does seem to be getting more challenging to keep the bees going these days. By nature, I’m a hand’s off beekeeper, but with all the various pathogens out there, its getting to be necessary to intervene more just to keep colonies going. Just takes more practice!

  3. Hey Gary! I guess I didn’t know you were blogging, too…so happy to find your comment on mine, and discover it was you! Scrolling through it it is amazing to see your harvest. You’ve set the bar for me now. My brother in law is sending me some onion sets from a place he likes in Texas. In re your raspberries: I’m busy clearing out Virginia creeper from the trees, and cutting out the “weed trees” that will block our blackcaps from propagating. Seems we have quite the patch, and I am looking forward to some blackcap jam this year. The new batch of sauerkraut is progressing much better than the first batch did. I doubled that one (10#), and this one is a simple 5# batch. The kimchi grows better every day…though I think next time I’m adding more ginger and garlic.

    1. Hi Bo, Yes, I’ve been at this for a couple of months now – a post about once a week about all I can reliably have time for. I’ve been following your adventures regularly. It’s exciting watching you remake your place into your home and garden/farm. Good luck on the brush clearing… I’m sure the berries will appreciate it!

  4. Hi Gary!

    I’m itchin to start, and saving all this good information on seeds to my hard drive, for after we move back to Oregon. My “garden” here in Taiwan is a four foot wide caged balcony with a washing machine at one end and the trash at the other. Still, I have eight avos going, an exuberant rosemary bush and a couple types of sprouts, plus assorted flowers. It’s hard to face spring without my hands in the dirt, but at least they’re about to plant rice across from our apartment, so we’re kind of connected to it all.

    Anyway, thanks. Great blog.

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