Raspberries are a useful summer fruit that can be grown almost anywhere in New Zealand.
The thornless varieties make great plants for kids, and they are so easy to grow.
Raspberries should be planted in well drained, fertile soil.
Prepare the soil before planting by digging deeply, at least to 30cm.
Incorporate plenty of organic matter, such as compost.
Then add blood and bone, one handful to 1/2 square metre.
Set new canes approximately 1m apart.
After planting, water the soil to settle and leave undisturbed.
If the soil is not ready, or because of winter, it is hard to prepare the soil, plant the canes into a container first.
Water the container once a week.
As soon as the soil can be worked, plant out the pots, trying not to disturb the roots too much.
During hot dry weather in spring and summer, provide plenty of water.
Feed well in the spring and summer with a balanced fertiliser, but gradually cut off water and food in the autumn.
This will allow the canes to harden up for the winter.
In the first year, remove all flowers and do not allow the young plant to fruit.
This allows the plant to build up reserves and grow a few more new canes.
In the second year, these new canes will start to flower around November.
These will produce the main crop of raspberries.
New canes that grow in the second year may then produce a smaller crop of flowers in the autumn.
Pick the fruits when they have turned a deep red and drop off easily from the core when touched.
This is when the fruits are most ripe and sweetest.
Excess fruit can be made to raspberry jam or frozen.
In winter, prune off canes that have produced the main crop, down to the ground level.
These canes will not flower again.
Remove small and weak new canes.
Thin the remaining new canes so that they are around 10-15cm apart.
Raspberries are very vigourous and can be a little invasive.
They will sucker new canes some distance from the main plant.
In the spring, mark out the boundary of the plant and push a spade straight down the boundary.
This will sever the suckers.
Then dig out the suckers that grow outside the boundary.