This plant is deciduous so it will lose all its leaves in autumn, then fresh new foliage appears again each spring.

  • Position: full sun
  • Soil: fertile, well-drained soil
  • Rate of growth: fast-growing
  • Hardiness: fully hardy
    This autumn-fruiting raspberry produces heavy crops of large, delicious berries from August until the winter frosts. An excellent choice for a sheltered sunny spot with well-prepared, moderately fertile, well-drained soil, the fruit are borne on the upper part of the current season’s canes. Large, delicious raspberries from August until the first frosts; the canes require little support
  • Garden care:Plants supplied as bare root canes. Prepare the ground well before planting removing all perennial weeds and adding plenty of well-rotted garden compost or manure. Plant canes 8cm (3in) deep, at 45cm (18in) intervals, carefully spreading out the roots and backfilling with soil. Subsequent rows should be 1.8m apart. Normally after these autumn fruiting raspberries have been growing for one year, all the canes should be cut back to just above ground level each February and fed with a slow release fertiliser. However there is an alternative way of pruning that brings the harvesting season well into summer, thereby increasing the months of berries. At the end of autumn, instead of cutting all the canes to the ground, only prune out the canes which fruited. These will grow on next year, fruiting much earlier than ususal giving you a summer crop. Next year’s spring shoots will emerge as normal to give you your autumn crop of raspberries.As the canes emerge they can be tied onto their supports as normal.

Everything you need to know about how to grow raspberries

‘Zeva’ carries a more moderate crop but produces early and does well in northern gardens. ‘Galante’ has small, “non-prickly” thorns and is later ripening but similar in taste to ‘Autumn Bliss’. ‘Joan Squire’ is spineless and high yielding, with a good flavour.

Pruning

Autumn raspberries, whether established or newly planted, should have all their canes cut down to within 10cm (4in) of the ground in late winter. Bin or burn the prunings to help prevent disease.

Photo: Reuters

If you would like a few summer raspberries, too, cut off the top fruited sections of the canes in late winter and these will crop lightly again the following summer.

Expert Ken Muir says that its very vigorous primocane cultivar ‘Galante’ can be grown to give two reasonable crops.

How to grow

Autumn raspberries need good drainage because they hate waterlogging, but mulch them well to make sure they do not dry out in summer. They grow best in full sun and a sheltered place, although they will tolerate some shade. Plant them into well-dug and manured soil, at 37.5cm (15in) spacings, then cut the canes back to 22.5cm to 30cm (9in to 12in) tall.

A dressing of sulphate of potash, then a good organic mulch, in spring, is highly beneficial. Alternatively, use a general, balanced fertiliser such as Growmore. You should completely replant every 10 years or so.

In sheltered places smaller-growing autumn raspberries should be fine unsupported. To avoid disappointment, I prefer to tie them to wires stretched at intervals between wooden posts, just as I grow summer-fruiting raspberries. Alternatively, they can be individually staked using tall bamboo canes and string.

Pests and diseases

Autumn-fruiting varieties are less prone to damage from raspberry beetle larvae, and ‘Autumn Bliss’ is resistant to aphids, but wasps can be a nuisance, so put up traps early enough in summer before they arrive in numbers.

If grey mould is a problem in wet summers, remove infected plant material and dig up any plants showing signs of the virus.

Where to buy

Ken Muir, Honeypot Farm, Rectory Road, Weeley Heath, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex CO16 9BJ

Chris Bowers & Sons, Whispering Trees Nurseries, Wimbotsham, Norfolk PE34 8QB

I have always had a thing for raspberries. They are much heavier yielding, significantly easier to grow and, to my mind, just as good (if not even better) in the flavour stakes than the mighty strawberry.

I have no idea why more people don’t grow them. From just three plants I get more fruit than my family and I can ever eat, in exchange for little more than 10 minutes of pruning a year, plus the effort it takes to pick them.

If you are already a convert, here is a simple trick that can greatly extend the fruiting season of the autumn kind for really no extra work.

If you follow all the old-school gardening books, the standard advice is to snip back autumn-fruiting raspberries right down to ground level in February. This super straightforward hacking back then encourages the plant to develop brand new, vigorous growth from below ground, which then matures late in the year, thus giving you a harvest from August onwards. In some varieties this continues right up until the first frosts.

If, however, you essentially treat them like summer-fruiting types, only reducing half of these canes to ground level, the plants will respond by producing two flushes of fruit: once in the autumn, as per usual, from the new growth, but also one much earlier in the year from canes that matured the summer before.

In fact, with many “autumn” raspberry varieties, the only difference between them and the “summer” fruiting types is how we choose to prune them, not actual genetics. Adopting this strategy, in my experience, is also a pretty nifty trick if you have inherited plants and have no idea which of these categories they fall into. It eliminates the confusion, hassle and constant rechecking of labels. Don’t know which are which? No problem, just prune them all in February the same way and you’ll be fine.

All I do is start by snipping out the old canes, upon which fruit was produced the previous summer, right down to ground level. These are easy to identify as instead of being firm and green like new growth, they are dry and brown – a tell-tale sign that these branches are now dead and will not produce more flowers or fruit. With the remaining healthy growth, keep the six strongest canes and remove all the rest, snipping them right down to the ground, just as you did with the dead ones. Scatter the soil around the canes with a thick layer of mulch to suppress weeds, and add a scattering of high potash feed, such as dried kelp, and that’s it! You are good to go.

Pick of the crop: autumn varieties for flavour

Autumn Bliss Often dismissed as a novelty due to its yellow hue, this is sweet with a heavy crop of berries.

Joan J Sweet and aromatic, on mercifully spine-free plants.

Polka As delicious as it is generous, with yields double that of many other cultivars.

Email James at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @Botanygeek

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