I planted a stick.
Okay, it’s technically called a bare root raspberry “cane”, but I’m telling you it looked like yours truly paid $8.99 for a stick.
The tag, however, informed me it was indeed going to produce pints of lush, red melt-in-your-mouth berries.
So I simply dug a hole and the kids and I stuck that thing in the ground. I walked away as smug as could be thinking, ‘that was easy’. Later, I consulted my friend Google about planting raspberry canes.
Top 10 tips for planting raspberry canes
1. Do your research
This is farming lesson number one, folks. Always do your research before you plant. If I had taken the time to find out how to plant my raspberry cane correctly, I could have saved myself a lot of time in the future.
2. Soak your cane, before you plant
It is advised to soak your cane for a couple hours before planting – especially if the roots seem dry. Place the roots in a bucket of water for a couple hours (not more than six) to keep the roots from drying out while you prepare the planting hole.
3. Choose the right location
Raspberries don’t need the best soil (they will grow in most kinds) but avoid a wet area, as well as a windy spot, as raspberries do not like to stand in water nor dry out.
4. Give it light
Raspberries don’t need full sun (raspberries do just fine in partial shade) BUT you will get more raspberries if you plant them in full sun.
Spread a couple inches of compost to the TOP of the soil after planting raspberry canes. This helps add nutrients to the soil and hopefully improves your raspberry yield.
6. Mulch it
The base of the raspberry should be mulched to insulate the roots during winter and keep the weeds away. Raspberries have shallow roots so weeding must be done carefully. Better to put down mulch.
7. Warning – Raspberries spread
Now the directions on the tag said you should plant red raspberries 3 feet apart in rows 8 feet apart. I scoffed a little at this thinking – my stick doesn’t need that much room.
WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! Red raspberries do indeed spread – A LOT. Red raspberries spread away from the original planting site by sending up new canes called ‘suckers’ away from the original root crown. So don’t…ahem…put a red raspberry cane say, for a random example, as a border in the middle of your planned vegetable garden area. But who would be stupid enough to do that anyway?
So this was my original cane….
And this is my raspberry bush one year later.
In one year! I was amazed. Maybe you are too, but any real farmers out there are now rolling their eyes and laughing because I didn’t realize raspberries need to be pruned.
8. Don’t forget to prune
Prune summer raspberries after fruiting by cutting out the old canes and leaving the new ones to grow on. Fall fruiting varieties are cut to the ground in early winter or as soon as they are done fruiting.
Pruning only takes a few minutes and increases your yield, but I didn’t do it. Hence the “wild” look of my bush. You may also notice they are planted in front of a fence. How the heck did I think I was going to harvest the berries on the other side?
9. Regular watering is key
Get your raspberries off to a great start by watering them one inch per week from spring until after harvest.
10. Give support
I didn’t even know raspberries required support until I saw how tall they grew. Many varieties will actually grow as tall as you. A trellis or a fence can help hold up your canes and make picking much easier.
Raspberries are the easiest fruit to grow
Thankfully raspberries are very forgiving and despite all these errors I was able to harvest a few pints of fresh raspberries. In fact, I’m told these are the easiest fruit to grow.
So if you have any unused plot of ground maybe covered in grass that you hate mowing, planting raspberry canes is your answer. One year after planting, you’ll be harvesting delicious little red gems you can then use in the following pie recipe.
Unfortunately, I didn’t. A little raspberry goblin gobbled all the raspberries off my bush before they could even make it into the house.
Oh, you thought I meant one of the kids? No, it was me. Sadly, I had to buy raspberries. (Insert hanging head here.) But next year, after pruning my bush, I promise I’ll be making jam and pie with homegrown berries and hopefully you will too.
Do you want to learn more about planting raspberry canes?
Check out the book Homegrown Berries.
Dark Chocolate Raspberry Pie
See Grain Free Pecan Crust recipe
2 12.3-ounce shelf-stable package firm silken tofu (you can also use the refrigerated tofu too, but it is easier with the silken)
2 1/2 cups 70% dark chocolate chips (dairy free for those with allergies)
1 tsp coconut oil
3 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
Melt 2 cups of chocolate chips with a teaspoon of coconut oil over low heat, stirring constantly.
Puree the tofu with the melted chocolate in a blender until it has reached a smooth consistency. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. I use a Vitamix blender to handle this task and yet I still have to stop the blender every so often and give it a stir. Blend, stir and repeat several times until you get a fabulous creamy texture. Note: If you use the refrigerated tofu, you’ll need to add about a 1/4 cup of water.
Chop the remaining chocolate chips and stir them in for a little crunch in your pie. As my daughter says, “it’s funner in the mouth”. And who doesn’t want to have a little party in their mouth?
Once the pie crust has cooled, spread the chocolate tofu mixture on top of the crust. Then place the pie in the freezer for about an hour to set. Sometimes I’m too hungry and I eat the pie right away. In this case, use frozen raspberries. The warm pie and frozen sauce are the perfect combination. Simply puree the berries and scoop a dollop on top of your pie.
If you have managed to keep the pie in the freezer for an hour, puree the raspberries to create a sauce and then warm over low heat. Pour a heaping spoonful over individual pie servings.
So what did you think of the pie? Are you going to order a raspberry cane? I’d love to hear how you made out. Simply leave a comment below.
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