Growing Raspberries in Raised Beds [7 Essential Steps]

In order for your raspberries to thrive in a raised bed, you’ll need to select the ideal location to plant raspberries. Then, plan and assemble a raised bed frame made from untreated lumber. Fill the raised bed with well-draining sandy loam soil mixed with compost. Plant raspberries 18–24 inches (45–60 cm) apart and add mulch. Next, maintain the raspberry canes with regular watering and pruning as they grow. Be sure to use sharp pruning shears to remove dead canes and keep your plants healthy.

Growing raspberries in raised beds

7 Steps to Grow Raspberries in Raised Beds

Raised beds are an excellent place to grow raspberries. The elevated bed encourages better drainage and healthier raspberry canes. If you’re looking to create a raised bed for raspberries, simply follow these steps.

Scout Your Location

Raspberry canes need 6–8 hours of direct sunlight per day for ideal growth. When planning where to place your raised raspberry bed, search your yard for an unobstructed space that gets plenty of sun.

  • Choose a spot for your raised bed that receives 6–8 hours of direct sunlight daily.
  • A location that receives morning sun and afternoon shade is best for raspberries.
  • If your backyard is very sunny, that’s fine. You can protect your raspberries with this row cover if they get too much sun.

Raspberries particularly love morning sun and light afternoon shade. Observe your yard throughout the day. If there’s a location that gets sun in the morning, but receives some shade from a building or tree during the afternoon heat, that’s the perfect location for a raised bed.

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Plan the Size of Your Raised Bed

You will need a large raised bed for your raspberries, so plan accordingly. A single row of raspberries needs a raised bed that is 36 inches (90 cm) wide and 20 inches (50 cm) deep. The length of the raised bed depends on how many raspberries you wish to plant. Allow for 18–24 inches (45–60 cm) between plants so they have room to grow. If you construct a raised bed that is 8 feet long (240 cm), it will fit 4 raspberry plants.

  • Before constructing a raised bed, determine what size bed you need to plant the desired number of raspberries.
  • Your raised bed must be at least 20 inches (50 cm) deep to allow for raspberry root growth.
  • Each raspberry plant needs at least 18 inches (45 cm) of space from planter walls and other raspberries.
  • A planter that is 3 feet wide (90 cm) by 8 feet long (240 cm) can hold 4 raspberry plants.

If you’d like to fit more raspberries into a raised bed, you’ll need to make your bed much longer or wider. If you want to plant two rows of raspberries in your bed, allow 24 inches (60 cm) between rows. Also, raspberries should be planted 18–24 inches from the sides and ends of the planter, as well as other raspberry plants. It’s a good idea to make a sketch and plan how to use your outdoor space.

Build Your Raised Bed

To construct a raised bed, first measure and mark the boards that will make up the sides and ends. A good starting point is an 8-foot long bed, because boards are commonly sold at that length in the United States. You won’t have to cut the sides if you are building an 8-foot bed. You’ll simply have to mark and cut the end boards to make the bed as narrow or wide as you would like.

  • Measure and mark boards to the dimensions you’ve planned for your raised bed.
  • Use a miter saw or similar tool to cut the boards to size.
  • Use metal brackets and/or wood posts to help securely attach the sides of the bed to one another.
  • Consider adding a top rail of 2x4s to your raised bed for more strength.
  • Build your raised bed on-site since they are hard to move once assembled.

Once the boards are cut to length, use screws and corner brackets to attach the boards to each other. A raised bed doesn’t need a floor. Think of making a box without a top or bottom. Just make sure the sides are at least 20 inches (45 cm) tall so your raspberries can take root in the soil you add in the next step. Keep in mind that a raised bed is heavy, so it’s best to build yours at the spot you’ve chosen for your raspberries.

Fill Your Raised Bed with Soil

Once you’ve built your raised bed, it’s time to fill it with soil. Sandy soil, especially sandy loam, is ideal. Clay soils are not good for raspberries. Fill your bed with good topsoil from a reputable wholesaler. At the time you’re adding the soil to your raised bed, mix in 1 part compost for every 3 parts soil. This will give you a fertile garden bed where raspberries thrive.

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  • Fill your raised bed with a mix of 3 parts soil to 1 part of this compost.
  • After filling your raised bed, test the soil pH with this meter.
  • If your soil pH is below 5.5, reduce acidity by mixing in agricultural lime.
  • If your soil pH is above 6.5, increase acidity with this specialized fertilizer.
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Raspberries prefer acidic soil with a pH level between 5.5 and 6.5. So, it’s a great idea to test your soil pH once you’ve filled the bed with earth and compost. If the soil is too acidic (the pH is lower than 5.5), add calcitic or dolomitic lime to reduce acidity. If the soil doesn’t have enough acidity (the pH is higher than 6.5), use ammonium sulfate or an acidic fertilizer to correct the soil chemistry and enable your raspberries to grow at their best.

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Plant Your Raspberries

With your raised bed finished, filled, and the soil optimized for raspberries, it’s time to begin planting. Mark out the location for each raspberry plant. Make sure each plant is at least 18 inches (45 cm) from the sides of the raised bed, as well as other raspberry plants. If you are growing more than one row of raspberries in your bed, allow 24 inches (60 cm) between rows.

  • Measure and mark the location of each future raspberry plant with a small stick.
  • Raspberries should be planted at least 18 inches (45 cm) from the raised bed sides and neighboring plants.
  • Dig a shallow hole and plant a raspberry cane at each marked location.
  • Water your raspberries as soon as you’re done planting.

Dig a small hole at each marked location. Then, plant your raspberry canes. Raspberries are shallow-rooted plants, so you don’t need to dig a deep hole. Water the soil immediately after planting to help your young raspberries acclimate to their new environment.

Add Mulch

Once your raspberries are planted, spread a 2–4-inch (5–10 cm) layer of mulch on the soil surface in the raised bed. Make sure your young raspberries are not buried and that none of their leaves are covered by the mulch. In fact, it’s a good idea to leave a mulch-free area at the base of each raspberry cane to prevent trapped moisture from damaging your young plants.

  • Spread a layer of mulch in your raised bed, 2–4 inches (5–10 cm) deep.
  • Do not bury or cover raspberry plants with mulch.
  • Mulch helps retain soil moisture and prevents invasive weeds.

A layer of mulch in your raised bed has several big benefits. Not only will the mulch prevent weeds from sprouting, but it will also lock in valuable moisture. Without mulch, your raised bed can dry out quickly in the summer heat, which can cause your raspberries to suffer. Mulch helps you keep your raspberries well hydrated with less water.

Maintain Your Raspberries

Keep your newly planted raspberries healthy by watering them weekly. Make sure the soil is moist to a depth of 10–12 inches (25–30 cm) after each watering. Keep an eye out for bugs that can attack raspberry leaves and fruit. Check on your raspberries daily to watch for signs of drought, disease, or overwatering. A daily garden walk helps you respond to potential issues quickly.

  • Water raspberries once per week until the soil is moist down to a depth of 10–12 inches (25–30 cm).
  • Check on your raspberries daily for signs of drought, overwatering, pest insects, or disease.
  • Prune second-year shoots once they stop bearing fruit to make room for new raspberry growth.

Most raspberry canes are biennial. This means that during their first year of growth, new shoots won’t produce fruit. Second-year shoots will produce fruit, then die. So, it’s essential to prune away old canes once they’ve stopped bearing fruit. This makes room for new canes and contributes to healthy raspberries growing in your raised bed.

How Deep Do Raised Beds Need to Be for Raspberries?

Raspberry plants need 18–20 inches (45–50 cm) of soil for full root system development. You won’t have healthy plants or sufficient air circulation for roots with a lower soil level. 

  • Around 2 feet deep (18-20 inches/45–60 cm) is best for raspberry root growth.
  • Construct a raised bed taller than the minimum depth to allow room for mulch on top of the soil.

It’s a good idea to build a raised bed that is deeper than 20 inches (50 cm). This allows you to leave room at the top of the soil so you can add a layer of mulch around your raspberries. A deeper bed also allows you to grow deep-rooted plants if you decide to grow something other than raspberries in the future.

Do Raspberries Grow Well in Raised Beds?

Raspberries grow excellently in raised beds. Raised beds allow for well-drained soil which raspberries need for ideal growth. Adequate drainage should be your biggest goal when assembling a raised bed as a raspberry grower.

  • Raspberries thrive in raised beds.
  • Raised beds allow for moist soil that drains well, which prevents raspberry diseases.
  • Raspberries often grow better in raised beds than in traditional, ground-level gardens.

Excess water drains out of raised beds more easily than regular garden soil. So, raised beds help prevent soggy soil that can cause root rot and kill your raspberry plants. So, if you want the best raspberry yield, a raised bed is an excellent choice.

Can You Grow Raspberries in a Planter Box?

Raspberries grow extremely well in raised beds so long as you plan them out properly. If you follow these steps, you will have a great raised bed with plenty of fresh raspberries:

  • Choose a location that receives 6–8 hours of direct sunlight daily.
  • Plan the dimensions of your raised bed to fit as many raspberries as you want without crowding.
  • Build your raised bed out of untreated lumber.
  • Fill your raised bed with a mixture of soil and nutrient-rich compost.
  • Plant your raspberries 18–24 (45–60 cm) inches apart in your raised bed.
  • Add a 2–4 inch (5–10 cm) layer of mulch to your raised bed.
  • Water your raspberries weekly and prune away old canes.

By late summer, a newly planted bed of raspberries will be several feet tall. You’ll see canes with big leaves and vigorous growth. A raspberry bed is a beautiful addition to any garden.

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