This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V23", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
It must not be forgotten that the Raspberry is naturalty a Northern or mountain plant, and to succeed with it in warmer latitudes a cool soil is of first importance. As bearing on this subject we give the following interesting piece from the London Journal of Horticulture: -
"Having had occasion to pay more than ordinary attention to the culture of this fruit, a few words concerning a failure and its remedy may prove useful to others. In planting a few rows about four years ago no particular care or preparation of stations was thought necessary, although the soil was obviously the reverse of rich. Unbroken success had very likely given me an impression that the Raspberry would thrive anywhere and in almost any kind of soil, and this feeling was strengthened by the sight of a bed of 'wild' Rasps growing luxuriantly in an Alder swamp within 100 yards of the garden. The soil was therefore simply trenched, manured heavily as for vegetables, and the Raspberries planted. A tolerably vigorous growth yielding fruit in due course was the result. But I was not satisfied; the fruit was neither so large nor plentiful as was required, and I resolved to start afresh, reserving the old plants for present exigencies.
"In making the new bed, particular attention was given to ensure a robust growth, which in the Raspberry implies an abundance of fruit, and to arrange the whole so as to make it an easy matter to protect the fruit from the ravages of birds. This was managed successfully by making the rows side by side five feet apart, and with the plants one foot apart in the rows. Trenches a yard wide, two feet deep, and filled with the soil - leaves and dung of some old hotbeds well chopped and mixed, being prepared for each row. Large fruit and plenty of it was the object in view, and Prince of Wales was chosen as the best kind for culinary purposes, its fruit being very fine; but as it is not so sweet as some it would probably not be generally liked for a dessert fruit.
"It was reasonable to suppose that this careful preparation of the bed would produce proportionate results, but I must confess I certainly did not expect to see anything like the extraordinary vigor of the first year's growth. Not only did the roots spread over the trenches, but they quickly met and became interlaced in the alleys, the entire surface soon bristling with suckers, which could only be kept under by repeated hoeings. The canes left to grow in the rows were wonderfully robust; and the old canes, which had been shortened to about a foot at the time of planting, put forth some shoots bearing such good fruits as to cause one to regret having shortened them so much. I do not, however, think it good practice to leave the canes of a new bed unpruned as is sometimes done, but would always reduce them to one or two feet. In autumn when the leaf had fallen, two wires were strained along each row, one two feet from the ground, and the other 3 feet 6 inches; the canes were then pruned a uniform height of 4 feet, tied upright to the wires, and the work was complete.
"The bed has now been in full bearing for two seasons, the fruit being both abundant and fine. A heavy annual top-dressing of manure is given to the alleys. The soil is never disturbed, but remains intact just as it was left after the planting. As the fruit ripens the bed receives one or two thorough soakings of water or some liquid manure, which proves very beneficial to the crop, making the latest pickings of fruit quite equal to the first in size and color."