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  • The Wildlife Nursery July 22, 2014
      Gardening often provides the closest encounters we ever have with wild creatures.  It is a solace and a distraction in bad times, and a shared joy in good ones.  ~Ursula Buchan     When you establish a wildlife garden, you need to be aware that at some point in the spring, summer or fall you will […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all t […]
    Donna Donabella
  • The Good in Grapevines July 18, 2014
    I am sometimes dismayed by the rapid growth of my Muscadine grapevines (Vitis rotundifolia).  Then I spot a bird picking through them and I relax and am glad that I procrastinated on cutting back. Heck, this southeastern native vine can be cut back at any time. This past week I watched the cardinals dancing in […] We love hearing from you! Please click here […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • A Monarch Waystation in a Mall’s Landscaping July 17, 2014
    At the Healthy Living Market, which occupies the old JC Penny’s space in the Wilton Mall of Saratoga Springs, NY, there is a new Monarch Waystation site. I had the privilege of doing a landscape renovation to the surrounding island beds and sidewalk gardens this spring. We included many native perennials, and cumulatively the site […] We love hearing from yo […]
    Jesse Elwert
  • Smooth Sumac July 15, 2014
      Just a couple weeks ago, some of the bushes along my woodland edges were abuzz with pollinator activity. The flowers of Smooth Sumac, Rhus glabra, were the magnet.   Butterflies, including this Red-banded Hairstreak, Calycopis cecrops, were part of the crowd.   Honey Bees, gathering nectar, to help some bee keeper with his honey supply were also attracted. […]
    Brenda Clements Jones
  • Sweet as honeyvine July 14, 2014
    This “weed” is a host plant Honeyvine milkweed (Cynanchum laeve) is a vigorous, perennial trailing vine that is native to our eastern and central states.  Some people consider it to be a nuisance “weed”, but I call it Monarch caterpillar food. Hardy hearts I like the honeyvine’s heart-shaped leaves and the fact that I never […] We love hearing from you! Plea […]
    Judy Burris
  • Yellow and Blue make Beauty in the Garden July 11, 2014
    When I see the bright yellow flowers of the Partridge Pea (Chamaecrista* fasciculata) I tend to think of Sulphur butterflies because it is a larval host for several members of the Sulphur butterfly family. The other day I was out enjoying the diversity of insect activity on the Partridge Pea plants back in my pond […] We love hearing from you! Please click h […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • Tracking Down a Lonesome Dove July 11, 2014
    Boy, were husband Matt and I baffled when a friend sent us this picture of a bird nest on the ground, with chick and egg. “What is it?” he wanted to know. “Precocious young?” That was our first thought when seeing a feathered youngster next to an egg—that “precocial” youngster already had feathers when it hatched. […] We love hearing from you! Please click h […]
    Sally Roth
  • What Native Plants Will Stay Green In Summer Drought? July 10, 2014
    In Southern California, we have a problem: There’s no green stuff in the summertime.  Many of our native perennial plants die back and leave you with a garden that is, well, lacking for the color green.  Most of us have this ńeed to see green in the garden, so much so that we would go […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the beautiful p […]
    Kathy Vilim
  • Vital Velvet Mesquite II July 9, 2014
      In this summer month when the mesquite pods begin to ripen, I have been discussing mesquite in a number of my blogs (see list at the end of this article). The naturally sweet seed pods of the native velvet mesquite (Prosopis velutina) are a valuable source of food for numerous desert dwellers. Two-legged desert […] We love hearing from you! Please click he […]
    Jacqueline Soule

#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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