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  • The Monarchs of Venice, California November 22, 2014
    The morning sun rose over the canals of Venice, California, its soft yellow color reflected in the water, as I stood watching the Monarchs, already up and about.  The pocket park they were visiting was still mostly in shade, so I didn’t expect to see the orange-winged beauties until hours later, when the sun would […] We love hearing from you! Please click h […]
    Kathy Vilim
  • Balance in the Garden: Ichneumon Parasitic Wasp November 21, 2014
    Sometime ago I talked about how some wasps keep a garden in balance by using other arthropods as their larval hosts, laying eggs to hatch and feed off the caterpillars of moths or butterflies or beetle larvae.  It’s Nature’s way of ensuring you don’t get too many of one species.  The food chain in action. […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to se […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • Thankful for Nature November 20, 2014
    As I prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday, my list of things to do grows. My mental list of what I am thankful for is in progress as well, and always at the top of that list are the gifts that the natural world has given us. From tiny pollinators to towering oaks, our world would […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the beautiful photos […]
    Ellen Honeycutt
  • Saying Goodbye to All the Plants in My Front Garden November 19, 2014
    Well, it’s digging day. A day I’ve known was coming since we bought our house 14 years ago. Seems that over 100 years ago when my house was built it was considered a good idea to use clay pipes to carry away the sewage from the houses in this neighborhood. Think about it. You know […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the beautiful photo […]
    Carole Sevilla Brown
  • Teaching native habitats with trout November 17, 2014
    It might seem fishy to set up a 55-gallon fish tank and say you’re going to use to it to teach outdoor education, but so far raising brook trout has been one of the most exciting and engaging projects we’ve taken on at the elementary school where I work. In the local school system, animal […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the beautif […]
    Stacey Evers
  • Aphids are Good? Wait….WHAT??? November 14, 2014
    Down at my pond recently, I waited patiently for a flower fly to land for a photo op.  I use a point and shoot camera and have yet to find that the sports setting is effective at getting close-up photos of insects so I don’t use it.  I took a random shot or two while […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the beautiful photos and let us k […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • Winter Citizen Science Projects November 12, 2014
    Winter is a fabulous time to participate in a wide variety of citizen science projects to help biologists and scientists gather data for conservation planning and further our knowledge of ecosystem health and population abundance of different types of wildlife. I’m working on building a comprehensive list so I’m going to ask for your help […] We love hearing […]
    Carole Sevilla Brown
  • A Heron By Any Other Name Would Be Easier To Identify November 7, 2014
    This is a fun time of year in Florida.  The birds are returning from their summer digs so I get a wide array of visitors.  I glanced out at the pond the other day and eyed a thin white head poking up through the cover of native grasses.  There standing on the tussock in the […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the beautiful photos and l […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • A Fall Break From the Gardens November 6, 2014
    This growing season’s been marked by extremes for me, extremes of both joy and loss. I don’t remember ever being as busy in my whole life as in the past six months, and now that it’s November it’s time to slow down. I’m taking a fall break from the gardens this week, I’m headed to […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the beautiful photo […]
    Jesse Elwert

#GardenChat

Planting Raspberries & Blackberries

Yesterday hubby and I celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary. (My how the time flies!) To celebrate we planted raspberries and thornless blackberries. Truthfully we weren’t “celebrating” by planting berry canes but we had several to plant and Mid-March is the ideal time for planting them. Our gain is your gain, if you haven’t planted raspberries or blackberries before the following may help!

Raspberry: They’re separated into two categories, “ever-bearing” which continuously bear fruit throughout spring, summer and fall and “seasonal” berries which bear all at once either in early, mid or late summer. There are three colors: red, black and purple. When growing different colored varieties they must be kept separate. We planted “Killarney” a red mid-summer bearer that’s very cold hardy and “Heritage” a red ever-bearing variety with origins in our home state of New York. A list of raspberry varieties and their hardiness zones can be found here.

Blackberry: Planted the same way as raspberries, but separated into categories of trailing, semi-trailing and erect. There are also thorny and thornless varieties. They require trellising or support of some kind. Varieties are listed here. We planted the thornless variety “Chester” (a trailing, late season berry) along the picket fence.

To Plant:

Select a sunny location. Raspberries and blackberries can stand a bit of shade but will produce better in sun. Berries prefer sandy, well drained soil, however they’ll grow in most average garden soils. (See note at bottom.) Prepare the soil by digging in 2″ of compost and preparing a hole ( for 4 or fewer plants) or a trench (for 5 or more plants) that is 4″ deep and 14″ wide. Space holes 3′ apart.

Next, unwrap the bundled roots and trim any long, straggly root growth with hand pruners.

Set the plants 3′ apart in the trench (or 1 per hole) and gently spread the roots along the row in one direction.

Carefully return only enough soil to the hole/trench to just cover the roots. The point where the cane meets the rootstock should be at soil level. Hold the cane at the top while back-filling with soil and press down gently with your hands to eliminate air pockets.

Mulch around the plants with 4″-6″ of shredded leaves, grass clippings etc. Mulching will prevent weeds. If you must cultivate do it gently and loosen only the top 3″ of soil to prevent damage to the tender roots. The roots will eventually grow to fill in the spaces between the plants and send up new brambles.

DO NOT add fertilizer at planting time. An organic fertilizer can be used 4-6 weeks later when the plants are actively growing. One application per season is adequate as more fertilizer will encourage leaves instead of berries. Once established, pruning once a season is all that’s required to maintain the plants.

NOTE: Our nursery noted it’s important to avoid planting berry canes in soil that has grown peppers, tomatoes or eggplant within the last three years. Verticillium wilt is a shared fungus among these crops and can easily be spread throughout the garden. As always, maintain healthy soil by following best garden practices of crop rotation, proper clean up and prevention.

11 comments to Planting Raspberries & Blackberries

  • I am so glad I visited your blog. I want to get some berry bushes and you gave such great info. thanks

  • Happy anniversary and good luck with those berries! A great way to celebrate!

  • Lisa Gustavson

    Thank you for reading! We’ve grown raspberries and blackberries for years, I think you’ll find them easy to grow and impossible to stop eating. :-)

  • Lisa Gustavson

    Thank you so much! I agree, planting in the garden with hubby is always a great celebration! :-)

  • I really want to plant berries this year, but first I have to get underground cables marked before I dig, then remove grass, so I’m not confident I’ll get it all done on time.

    Have you found a difference between raspberries and blackberries in terms of their resilience when it comes to avoiding diseases? I don’t like spraying and, with the humidity here in Eastern Kansas, some things are just too much trouble to grow because of endemic fungal diseases.

    Grapes for instance I’m just about to give up on, and I’ve heard there’s no such thing as a Kansas organic apple. I haven’t even bothered to try apples because there are cedar trees here, which carry cedar-apple rust.

    Anyway, I’d appreciate any insight on the raspberry/blackberry debate. I’m thinking that blackberries may be more robust. Am I right?

  • Lisa Gustavson

    Hi Alison! I have found the blackberries to be more resilient in the garden, and if you have ample moisture that’s a plus. Pruning the canes after fruiting will aid in keeping fungal diseases to a minimum. Choose an earlier bearing variety such as Arapaho or Natchez so the fruit can be harvested and the canes cut back before the heat and humidity are at their highest in mid to late summer. Remember, blackberries will need a support (trellis, poles, fence etc.) Best of luck and let me know if you have any more questions. :-)

  • Thanks Lisa. I have plenty of fence to plant against. I’m off to check my local community garden site to see if I’m too late to order through them – I noticed last week that they were supplying fruit bushes.

  • I will probably have a bunch of questions for you in a few weeks when I am planting my raspberry canes. I am so glad we can share information with others that have already done something.

  • Lisa Gustavson

    Isn’t it amazing that we can grow our gardens across the states? I love it! :-)

  • Woody Coey

    Can blackberries and rasberries be planted next to each other in same row ?

  • Lisa Gustavson

    Yes, they can. Raspberries and blackberries won’t cross-pollinate.

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