When I moved into our house, I planted two rows of raspberries, along edges of the greenhouse. It was my attempt at smart, efficient use of the space, and squeezing in another crop.
When you grow veg, things often don’t quite work and you end up changing them. An allotment or veg patch is like an ever evolving project, and my raspberries are one such example of this. I love raspberries, but they’ve just not really worked where I planted them.
The canes have grown out for starters, and during summer are actually a pain when I’m trying to get around the plot. They need controlling, but my flimsy posts haven’t done the job and I’ve underestimated how much space they require (one every 18 inches according the RHS).
The raspberries themselves aren’t great either. Most of them were dug up from my old allotment and are of indeterminable variety. They fruit towards the end of summer, but the berries are very small and crumbly. If I was a gambling man, I’d say they’ve had it.
Bulking Up the Polka
There are however, a few corkers snuck in between. I bought a few Polka from Blackmoor Nursery, which are autumn fruiting raspberries and grow really big. There are only three canes in there, but they’ve produced as many decent fruits as all the other canes this year and last.
The plan is to keep the Polka, and supplement them with some more. I’ll then be planting the whole lot in a vacant bed I’ve created by clearing some old shrubs that had seen better days.
Partial Shade and Spacing
The bed does suffer from partial shade, but raspberries will tolerate this. Their new location is also next to a fence so well sheltered, and apart from the raised beds, the soil is some of the best that I’ve got in the garden.
Planting at 18 inch intervals, I can put 6 canes in the space which should provide a good crop of raspberries in autumn. I love autumn croppers, they’re ace. They seem to grow bigger than traditional berries, but more than anything it is lovely to have summery fruits at this time of year and let us hold on to the warmer months for that little bit longer.
Raspberries freeze well too, so any glut doesn’t automatically have to go into jam (although raspberry jam is particularly delicious…)
More Fruit Than Veg?
I feel like going through a fruit evolution at the moment, with berries and rhubarb taking up more and more space on my plot. I can see myself getting to a point where what I grow is split 50/50 veg-fruit, as we’re presently eating lots of berries and not so many regular allotment crops such as carrots, parsnips and runner beans.
So, in between starting and finishing this post, I guess I’ve just realised that its not just the raspberries that are evolving, but my growing habits, once more. This is quite exciting, and I think that these changes in mood and momentum are one of the things that keep us coming back for more every season.
The plot plan could be interesting this winter…