Raspberries and Blackberries are among my favourite Summer soft fruits. Both are easy to grow, crop well and work out much cheaper than buying.
Bare rooted canes work out cheaper, buy from a reputable supplier. They will require support and protection from birds, ideally with a fruit cage. Plant about 1.5 feet apart.
Autumn varieties are the easiest to grow. The canes grow from Spring onwards and start fruiting late Summer. They will continue to fruit until the frosts arrive. After cropping the canes are cut down at ground level. In the Spring select the strongest looking canes, cut out the others at ground level and tie into the supports. Aim for a cane every 8 inches.
Summer fruiting varieties differ, in that they fruit on canes that grew during the previous season. After fruiting, prune the canes that have fruited to ground level. Select the strongest of the new canes and tie them in ready for them to fruit next year. Aim for a cane about every 8 inches.
These can easily be grown against a fence. They require support but rarely need protection from birds. Modern cultivars are virtually thornless and yield large, easy to pick fruits over a long season. In my opinion they are the easiest to grow soft fruit. Hybrids such as the Tayberry and Boysenberry extend the flavours on offer.
Red, White and Black Currants grow as bushes. They benefit from Winter pruning removing old, damaged and crossing branches. Blackcurrants seem to be more reliable croppers. They are fiddly and time consuming to pick but worth the effort. Birds love them, so again it’s best to grow inside a fruit cage.
Caring for Soft Fruit
Regular watering is essential, a drip watering system with a timer is useful. There is a lot of growth so they need a good feed to prosper. In Spring apply a good mulch around but not touching the canes of manure or good compost.