There has been a problem within the field for some years. A few years back we planted three patches of raspberries, one lot on a post in the cottage garden that have to hold their own between the bullying perennials, another lot on a wire system by the utility shed that romped away and a final patch by the compost bins at the bottom of the garden. It is this final patch that has always been wan.
Now, raspberries are greedy plants and each spring we mulch them, tie them in and remove any weak shoots but no matter what we did the patch by compost bins, nestled between the gentle recycling of humus and the rhubarb has always had canes half the size of those by the utility shed, and a third of the size of those in the cottage garden. Was it the depth of soil? Well, raspberries roots tend to be in the top 6-8 inches of the soil and we mulch them thickly to lock in the moisture each spring. We also know that the rhubarb does well here, so there was a possible warning sign, it may have been that this part of the garden was too damp for them but in the end it may simply have been a number of factors that contributed to them being pulled out this week after the canes that grew last year failed to come back to life.
There is a hedge nearby to the raspberry patch, in winter with the leaves gone, the wind can rattle through and no matter how much we have tied in new canes they get whipped. The rhubarb and the hedge was sucking up all the water but we think in the end the soil was too damp, poor drainage abounds in parts of the garden due to the sandstone grit we stand on and the peat that can easily wash away in the winter rains creating hard pan surfaces. The giveaway was when we removed the wire system posts, the bottom of the posts barely three years old were rotten and snapped in the ground. The rhubarb may love it there but the raspberries didn't.