Q How do I plant primocane raspberries?
A Bare-root raspberries are less expensive than container-grown ones. They're available from November through to March. Plant canes into soil that has had some well-rotted farmyard manure dug in. A well-drained, sunny site is best. Space the canes around 50cm apart in rows around 2m apart into a shallow trench.
Caption: Bare-root raspberries can be planted from November to March
Q How do I care for primocane raspberries?
A Feed the plants with sulphate of potash in spring, at a rate of 70g per sq m. Water well during any dry spells. Double-cropped canes shouldn’t need any more feed than the conventionally cropped plants. Mulching around the plants will help conserve moisture, as raspberries are shallow rooters.
Autumn raspberries can be grown without support but to keep the plants tidy, tie canes to bamboo canes or small tree stakes.
Raspberries will produce runners that can pop up anywhere, so keep the plants manageable by removing any excess canes.
Caption: Mulch around raspberries to conserve moisture for your plants
Q Which pests and diseases affect primocane raspberries?
A Raspberries aren’t prone to many pests, but the raspberry beetle is a common problem and can ruin a crop. The first sign of raspberry infestation is often small, brown, dried-up areas on the ripe fruit, near the stalk, where the grub of the beetle has been at work.
The pale brown, hairy beetles are active between April and July, so put up traps, which attract, and then drown, the adults. This will reduce the numbers but won’t control them completely, so you can also spray the plants with a pyrethrum-based insecticide. Spray in the evening when fewer pollinators are around.
Caption: Raspberry-beetle traps can help reduce numbers of this pest
Q How do I prune primocane raspberries?
A If you want a double crop from your autumn raspberries, leave all the canes unpruned after their first summer’s crop. These should produce an earlier crop of fruit in the summer the following year.
Once this fruit crop has finished, cut the fruited canes down to the ground. Fruited canes are the older-looking woodier ones, not the new, greener and more flexible canes.
Leave all the other canes that have grown that year to produce an autumn crop at the usual time.
Q How should I harvest primocane raspberries?
A Once the fruits start to ripen, pick every few days to keep the crop going. Old fruit left on the canes will rot quickly if the weather is damp. Raspberries freeze well if you don’t want to eat them at once. They also make great jam.
Caption: Pick raspberries as soon as they're ripe