Western Oregon offers the right growing conditions for raspberry plants, cool summers and mild winters. Raspberry plants are perennial, meaning they live for many years, yet the canes are biennial--they grow only leaves and foliage during the first year, then produce fruit in the second year before dying back. Fortunately, new canes are produced every year from the crown or base of the plants so that continuous crops of these delicate berries are produced from late June through July. Caring for raspberry plants in western Oregon isn't complicated.
Place raspberry plants in a location that receives full sun, although partial afternoon shade can be tolerated. Raspberries like well-draining soil with a pH of 5.5. to 6.5 and are susceptible to root rot if the soil becomes soggy. Before planting, it helps to amend the soil with organic matter, which improves the aeration and drainage.
Water your raspberries with at least 1 inch weekly. Use a drip irrigation or soaker hose for easy and effective watering. In warmer months, water two to three days weekly and stop watering in late summer to allow the plants to prepare for going dormant during the winter.
Feed your raspberry plants three times a year with a well-balanced fertilizer, 10-10-10. Apply a handful of food evenly around the base of the plants in early spring before new growth appears, then one month later and the final application one month after the last. You should be done fertilizing by the time the plants are producing fruit in mid-summer.
Add support to the raspberry plants, especially if you have planted several rows. For a couple plants in a small garden, use wooden stakes, securing each plant with twine or nylon. For bigger crops, place a wooden posts at the end of each row about 6 feet above the ground. Staple two wires between the wooden posts, one on each side of the posts, and tie the raspberry canes to the wires with twine or nylon. As the plants grow, re-tie them to the wires.
Harvest the raspberries in late June to mid-July when they are uniform in color and sweet. Fresh raspberries can be frozen by spreading washed berries on a cookie sheet in a single layer until hard and then storing in resealable plastic bags. If eating fresh, store in the refrigerator unwashed for up to three days. Wash fresh berries immediately before using.