One of my perennial favourites

Raspberries. Picture by PA Photo/thinkstockphotos
Raspberries. Picture by PA Photo/thinkstockphotos

Raspberries will always be part of my garden because the year-round maintenance demand is relatively low and the return by way of cropping so high.

We have both main crop and autumn fruiting types so picking starts in July and continues until the first frost. These fruits freeze so well that it’s perfectly feasible to be picking the first summer bowlful whilst the remains of the previous season are in the freezer.

Pruning of autumn raspberries is simple. Leave canes that fruited last year until winter then chop them to soil level. New canes appear, grow rapidly over summer and fruit in autumn.

Main crop (July-August) varieties fruit on canes that grew and matured the previous summer. So, as soon as the crop has been picked, say late August, completely remove canes that bore it and tie in the strongest of the new canes that have grown up unnoticed. They will bear the crop next July.

Traditionally, raspberry plants are short canes bought in bunches and planted in autumn, with little expectation of fruit the following summer.

However, recent introductions have greatly reduced this waiting time. So-called Long Cane plants, which are just that, can be planted in autumn to fruit in August. The Primocane, another inspired trend, comes from the rooting of growing tips, and moving them on in pots for summer fruiting. Both are priced to reflect the convenience they offer.