Growing in Containers
Raspberries that have been bred specifically for container culture can grow very well in pots as small as 10 gallons. Be sure to thin the old canes and prune your raspberries for height to maintain them in a container. Standard raspberries tend to grow and spread too aggressively to be happy all but the largest pot or trough. Remember that containers are hotter and drier than in-ground plantings and your raspberries will require more fertilization and irrigation than those planted in the soil.
Use 1/4 soil from your garden in the pot, 1/2 should be a light potting mix with added vermiculite or perlite, and the rest can be compost. For larger pots use a potting mix that has a larger particles in addition to smaller ones.
Care and Maintenance
WATERING YOUR PLANTS
This is the most important and often the most difficult part of successfully growing plants. There are many factors, including the humidity, temperature, soil type, wind, and amount of direct sun that affect how much and how often water should be applied.
A general rule of thumb for plants in the ground is to ensure they receive an inch of water per week over the root zone. An inch of water is equivalent to about ¾ to one gallon per square foot of soil surface area. The typical three foot diameter planting hole would need 7 ½ to 10 gallons of water per week provided by rainfall or by the gardener.
Apply this water once a week, two times per week if soil is fast draining or temperatures are consistantly above 80F. This will of course depend on your own conditions and the plants you are growing! DO NOT water lightly each day because this results in a wet surface and dry root zone area. The soil should be moist but not soggy to a depth of about a foot for most growing plants. The top inch or two can feel dry, and the plant still be well watered. The trick is to have the water available where the roots are. In hotter and sunnier areas, a mulch of straw, bark, etc. can greatly ease the burden of summer watering. For plants in containers, water until the soil is saturated and water comes out of the drainage holes. Very dry pots can be placed in a water-filled saucer or tray until the entire container has soaked up all available moisture. Let the container dry until the soil is dry to the touch 1 to 2 inches down (more deep with deeper pots) and the container is lighter in weight. A plant that has wilted can be receiving either too much or too little water.
In rainy areas like the Pacific Northwest most of the plants that we offer will need relatively little supplemental irrigation ONCE THEY ARE WELL ESTABLISHED in the ground and have had a chance to develop a good root system. However even here it is important to make sure plants have regular, deep watering during the first couple of growing seasons, and the first 2 summers is especially critical. In drier areas, or where soils do not retain water well, permanent irrigation is essential. Remember that you don’t want your plants to just survive, but rather to thrive! Make sure they get the water where they need it. Drip irrigation and soaker hoses can be an efficient way to deliver the water. Water-stressed plants can drop developing fruit, ripe fruit can be less succulent, and stressed plants can be more subject to disease.
For good steady growth and high productivity, your plants need to have adequate amounts of various mineral nutrients. Some people are fortunate and have naturally rich, fertile soil.
Use an all-purpose or bloom-producing fertilizer if necessary. A couple of inches of well-rotted compost on the root zone can also be an effective fertilizer. A generous leaf or straw mulch on your patch will not only conserve moisture and help in weed control, but also keeps your soil healthy by building up humus, attracting earth worms, and supporting beneficial fungal organisms. This encourages raspberries to be strong, healthy and productive. Excessive use of fertilizer can increase disease problems on your plants and can even kill them, so natural and gentle is always best.
As a general guide, if your raspberry patch is producing new crowns and vigorous canes each year and has healthy looking foliage, it may not need much or any fertilizer. If the patch shows signs of decline, you can apply fertilizer to see if that will revitalize it. If there is no improvement, then prepare to dig up and destroy all old canes, and create a new raspberry patch with fresh, virus-free stock in a new location, at least 15 feet from your previous area.
Pest and Diseases
Because raspberries tend to be prone to virus infection, it's not usually wise to share plant material with other gardeners. Please be safe with your garden soils and purchase certified virus-free stock from reputable nurseries to start any new patch.
Find out what insects and diseases are typical in your area. Ask your local co-operative agricultural extension professionals what the typical insect and disease issues are in your area. Then you can make selections based on resistance or tolerance information available on our website, or make a plan for controlling problems you can expect with the susceptible varieties you prefer to grow. If you see resistance information about a particular disease for one variety but not another of the same kind of fruit, then that variety may be susceptible or might not have been tested so is unknown. The following are some of the more common issues.