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How can I keep strawberry plants and raspberry canes for next year?

(8 Posts)
TheRobbingBastards Mon 29-Jun-15 16:39:13

We took over an allotment this year, closely followed by a second grin
The second one is a mass of strawberry plants and raspberry canes (which is good harvesting for no work ATM!)
The problem is they are all intermingled, lots of thistles, odd tufts of grass and a couple of gooseberry, blackcurrant and (possibly) blueberry bushes. We'd like to remove them once they've finished fruiting, prepare the ground properly and then replant in neat beds. I think the bushes will move to a new area which we can easily prepare beforehand, but the raspberries and strawberries will go back into the same area.
What is the best way to store them while we labour on? Potentially could we could store them until spring? And if so what is the best way?

bowsaw Mon 29-Jun-15 17:05:22

raspberries are as tough as old boots

if fruiting now then they will be floricane
Floricane raspberries which have stems that grow for one year before bearing fruit and flowers. Because floricanes and primocanes produce crops on different aged stems, they require slightly different pruning techniques. Best to read up on them as they need more care than the autumn primocane, which you cut to ground level each spring.

Strawberries produce sisterlet clones almost all year round, cover with soil and they will readily root

shovetheholly Tue 30-Jun-15 09:12:11

Oooh, you lucky thing!

If they are fruiting so abundantly now, they are clearly happy where they are! I would think carefully about whether you really need to move them to another spot. I just took some rasps that were doing exceptionally well in my garden to my allotment, and they have taken a big hit on being moved to a new site. I've almost no fruit this year. While they will recover and fruit again next year, it's not really worth shifting them unless there is a pressing reason to move them.

Instead, think about whether you can tidy them up in situ, removing a few plants so that you have a couple of clear lines, and tying them in so that you have neat rows. Rasps produce baby plants (suckers) all over the place, so you can use the healthiest ones of these to replace any weak older canes. Once you've organised them a bit, you should then be able to weed them much more easily. A lot of people recommend a really deep mulch for fruit to suppress weeds and lock in moisture - if you have a brewery near you, you may be able to pick up spent hops for free and put them down next spring.

In terms of moving things, I absolutely definitely would not move anything over the summer, and certainly not in a heatwave! Apart from the fact that you will be frazzled, the plants will really struggle to get the water they need to repair themselves. Leave moving of all fruit plants til November at the earliest, and get them in place before the end of March. (This includes gooseberries etc).

As Bowsaw said above, different kinds of raspberries need different pruning strategies. This sounds complicated, but it really isn't! With summer fruiting rasps (i.e. those fruiting now), once they've finished, you cut down the canes that have flowered and fruited to the ground and leave the others. It's usually really obvious which is which because they're different colours - the old stems are a browny/grey colour while the new ones are green. Autumn fruiting canes (which fruit in September) get chopped down to the ground after they fruit - you have to steel yourself a bit, because it feels really brutal, but it does work.

In short, I would do the pruning of the rasps just after they have finished giving you loads of lovely berries, but leave any moving of any plants to between November and March.

TheSpottedZebra Tue 30-Jun-15 09:20:29

Ooh, Shove stupid question but what do you do with raspberry suckers. Can you leave them where there are if there's room? And if you move them, how do you do that - just a spade between sucker and original plant to sever? Do they root deeply?

I will be expanding my raspberry patch this year (once I have sorted the bindweed or become more zen about it!). I have extreme envy of all these people with lots of raspberries.

shovetheholly Tue 30-Jun-15 09:35:15

You can leave them where they are, but this tends to produce a Raspberry Jungle over time. I did this in my garden at first, and it cut out air circulation and meant that the plants started to look a bit sickly and to produce less fruit. So I now root them up and add them to the lines I already have, usually replacing existing canes that look a bit wimpy (or sometimes there is no room and I am forced to give them to other people).

The suckers seem to come away quite easily from the parent plant - the roots are a big shaggy mess, and a spade in between separates them with a lot more ease than many other plants like the phormium in my garden, which turned into something resembling a Judo match against a plant

I am also envy of those with loads of raspberries this year. Mine are positively suffering with the move, and are having a massive sulk.

Death to Bindweed and Hooray for Raspberry Expansion!!

TheSpottedZebra Tue 30-Jun-15 11:16:02

Ah lovely, thanks Shove - again! - for advice. I am going to pounce on bindweed shoots like a tiger protecting her cubs, and my raspberry plants and suckers will flourish! I will also shamelessly let it be known to all and sundry at the allotment, that I am in the market for re homing any spare raspberry canes.

TheRobbingBastards Tue 30-Jun-15 21:23:06

Shame you're not near me zebra!

Thank you all, I really am grateful smile I currently have a 5m x 1m raspberry patch, which is extravagant by any standards. We do need to thin them radically (I have done a fair bit early this year) as they're impossible to weed or net- raspberries as an invasive species, who knew?!
I also need to clear some space to put my chicken hut <rubs hands gleefully> and DH's poly tunnel smile

TheSpottedZebra Wed 01-Jul-15 12:13:59

For raspberries, I'd make a special visit, Bastards ! I love them a lot. I had another... 3 last night at the allotment. Not enough to bring home, and certainly not end to share

Hey, come join us on the veg patch/allotment threads [ here]] - you too, Bowsaw . It's great, there's lots of nice fruit and veg based chat, and beginner people (like me!) ask questions and get help from clever people (like Shove grin All very welcome.

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