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I've always wanted a berry patch. Strawberries aren't too bad to purchase but others can cost an arm and a leg! We've had vegetables gardens and flower gardens but never a berry patch. In our current home we've had the fun adventure of creating a patch that has given us good return! Not quite where we don't need to buy any berries but that is my ultimate goal! We are 3 years in to this adventures and I want to share our tips for growing raspberries learned from our good and bad experiences.
How NOT to Grow Raspberries
Make a plan. Don't decide on a whim to plant raspberries and just pick a spot in the yard to plant them. Don't cover the grass with cardboard and some mulch and hope that you kill off the grass enough the plants will survive. Don't ask me how I know this.
Year #1 Growing raspberries is easy right?
At first it looked like things were going great since the plants took off and grew well. However we had planted them at the beginning of June and it got HOT. The roots just didn't get developed enough before the stress of the heat started. A few died off and we didn't keep up with watering them due to some health problems. So at the end of that year, I really wasn't sure how many plants would survive
Year #2 Expanding and too many weeds
We decided to add square foot garden beds for strawberries to our berry patch. Imagine our surprise when next door the raspberries came up. All over the place! We had tons of baby plants right where we didn't want them. Walking around them was a challenge.
The leaves and mulch we had laid did a decent job but the grass kept coming up between the pieces of cardboard that was under the mulch and that tended to be right around the little plants. The grass was much more determined than I was and it won the battle. Most of the poor little raspberry plants got choked by the tall grass.
Year #3 Starting over with new plants and a new plan
After not getting the garden clean up chores done in the fall of year #2, we had only two plants left and it was time to start again. I bought more plants and we got them in the ground in early April so their roots could get a good start before the Missouri heat set in. We started putting hay around the plants to smother the grass. Like 8-12 inches of hay. That had worked really well when we put hay on the vegetable garden the year before. We had a few small berries in May and I thought that would be it for the year.
It has been a wet summer and we've had to rake our grass a lot. Each time we did that, we added the grass on top of the hay wherever there was grass or weeds popping up. Now our raspberry bed is mostly under control from the weeds and we've got some beautiful plants that are giving us another round of berries! They are bigger and taste SO good!
Plans for Year #4
One of the problems with raspberries is that the canes fall over and laying on the ground from the weight of the berries. We used some wire cages to prop them up but after first frost we are going to create supports in anticipation of a wonderful year for our raspberries next year.
So what does a girl do when she needs a few of the trellis ideas? Go to Pinterest! Be sure to check out my Fruit and Vegetable Garden boards on Pinterest for more ideas!
Both of these designs looks very doable!
This is a task that will go on my garden to do list. Right next to pruning the raspberries. I'm afraid that list is going to get really long!
What are your garden plans for the fall and in the year to come? Comment below! I'd love to hear your experience with growing raspberries!!