Plant the canes in
November so that they are established before the
frosts, although planting can be done at any time
until mid-march if the soil is in a friable condition.
If not, dig a trench and spread out the roots
before covering them with soil until planting
can take place. As with all fruits, purchase from
a reliable grower canes which are free from ‘mosaic’,
which causes stunted canes.
Plant the canes 40-45cm (16-18in) apart, Malling
Promise and Norfolk Giant needing slightly wider
spacing; allow 120cm (4ft) between the rows. Do
not plant too deeply, for this is the cause of
failure of many plantations; just cover the roots
and tread in the soil over them. Then after a
few days, cut back the canes to 15cm (6in) above
ground level. There will be no fruit the first
summer, though the autumn- fruiting kinds will
bear a crop. This cutting back will cause the
buds at the base of the canes to produce new canes
on which will be borne next year’s crop.
As the canes make growth, tie them to wires stretched
along the rows at intervals of 45cm (18in). this
will prevent the canes being broken by winds.
At the end of summer, remove the tips of the canes,
which will then have grown about 180cm (6ft) tall.
After fruiting, cut out the old canes to about
7cm (3in) above the ground and tie in the new
canes and leave each root with six to seven new
With autumn-fruiting kinds, the canes are cut
back in March and the crop is borne on canes which
are produced that summer. In all other respects,
the culture is the same for them.
The fruit ripens quickly, and if weather is warm
it may need picking twice daily so that it will
not get too ripe and become ‘mushy’.
To propagate, lift a root or two in November and
separate the canes, holding them near the base
and pulling them away with the roots. Re-plant
as soon as possible so that the roots do not dry
out, treating them as described.