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Raspberry Patch: Friend or Foe?

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I live in the north east (zone 6A) on the coast and am planning a garden of edibles...we have 3 acres, so lots of space with different options for placement, isolating the raspberries from other crops if necessary.

I have fond memories of a raspberry patch that lived quite happily at the bottom of my grandmother's garden when I was a kid...seemingly effortlessly. But, like I said, I was an oblivious kid and don't know how hard they worked to keep it going.

So, raspberry growers, what is the story?

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  1. I have a raspberry patch surrounded by a low box hedge on three sides and a driveway on the fourth. I've had very little trouble with canes popping up in the lawn. The only effort is cutting back the canes after they bear fruit, a bit of weeding, and adding compost a couple of times a year. Pests aren't a problem for me. The berries are delicious; much better than store bought. Only thing is that now, after more than 10 years, the plants are less vigorous. I've added a few new canes, but I probably should have added more.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Glencora

      My parents have for many years kept a huge and carefully maintained red rasberry patch in Ohio. It is well mulched with chips supported with wires and pruned as needed and inside one of the electric fences they use to keep deer out. Mom harvests large quantities each year summer and Fall (its probably Heritage that they are growing) I will talk with them in May for their secrets, but it doesnt seem too intimidating. They used to grow black rasp in a separate part of the yard but it got too shady over there so they stopped that part of the program.

    2. Glencora: you don't say where you are from so it may not be relevant, but do you recall what kind you planted?

      JenKalb: do deer go for raspberries? or is the placement of the electric fence just co-incidence/convenience for your parents?...we co-habit with a small herd of white-tail deer. I hadn't thought of tucking the raspberry patch inside our fence (with the carrots and such) but I can plan for that if I know in advance.

      4 Replies
      1. re: LJS

        Deer will eat most food crops you want to grow- I dont know about the berries, but deercertainly like tender shoots, - parents have also needed to have their rose bed within an electronic perimeter . In fact all of their growing areas, for fpereennials, etc are now electronically contained (not beautiful) Its a big investment of time and work to get a row of raspberries growing and you woulnt want to get all the new growth chomped off. In this context, I am very happy to live in NYC and to have fewer plant eating animals to contend with. The deer population is a new thing (since I grew up there) in my parents suburban area, and their impact on gardening pleasure there has been profound and discouraging.

        1. re: jen kalb

          "...and their impact on gardening pleasure there has been profound and discouraging"

          tell me about it. when we bought our place out on the east end, one of the things i was looking forward to was to try my hand at some gardening.

          there was not a thing that the deer didn't eat. anything we planted was devoured come winter. the only thing the deer haven't touched are 'prickly' evergreens; the softer white pine for instance were that much grist.

          our fence really can't keep them out: we are restricted to no more than 8 feet and the deer laugh at that height.

          if you can share details about electronic perimeters i'd much appreciate it.

          1. re: howler

            Here is an article about electric fences I found online.
            http://www.finegardening.com/how-to/a...
            There seem to be a lot of online kit sources - maybe your garden center on the east end can advise.

            1. re: jen kalb

              Here are a couple of pix of the electric perimeter fence my Dad installed - as well as one of the rasberry trellis. Dad said that you only need one wire, 30 in high to deter deer. It will not harm them but they just touch it once and they will not challenge. In order to get a shock you need to be grounded - i.e. touching the ground. So birds can sit on this type of electric fence - unless they are sipping nectar from a flower- that is enough to ground them and give them a shock. the second picture is one of the gate structures - the wire runs over it so that you can enter and leave without the system being turned off.

               
               
      2. Raspberries are great. Since they really don't ship and last all that well, they are a bit on the expensive side so growing your own becomes cost effective.

        The problems I've had in the past have to do with drainage and squirrels. Raspberries like moist soil but get root rot quickly if the soil gets saturated. Mine are against a fence which makes a dandy highway for the local rats with bushy tails angling for a treat.

        2 Replies
        1. re: EdwardAdams

          it sounds like you may need to lighten up your soil with organic matter, etc and not water too much. or do something else about the drainage. My parents soil is clay but they have mulched heavily over the years so arent seeing this problem (in Ohio with, I think 30 in of rain on average per year)

          1. re: jen kalb

            I ended up raising the grade to plant them in since it was the winter rains that got to them. Only two years in with the latest planting and we have had low rainfall years recently in N California. We shall see if a 6 inch raised bed will do in a wet year when that comes.

            Mine are against the fence. I use posts and wires to hold them upright on the other side.

        2. So any particular variety that growers would reccomend?

          2 Replies
          1. re: LJS

            I've been doing some research, and it seems like a good idea to plant different types that bear at varying times so you don't get deluged for a few weeks and have nothing the rest of the season.
            White Flower Farm has a mixture
            http://www.whiteflowerfarm.com/4722-p...

          2. I would like to grow raspberries, but definitely have a deer problem -- and rabbits and a big fat groundhog. I read that the thorns should deter, so I may give it a try without fencing.

            Here's an informative blog post on growing raspberries -- in a raised bed to contain them.
            http://www.gardeningblog.net/2008/08/...
            I don't want the bother of establishing a large raised bed, and figure I could just brush hog the canes that get unruly.

            I'm wondering how to use the wires to support the raspberry canes. I've seen half hoops, but wonder if you need to attach the canes or lop them over or what?

            2 Replies
            1. re: NYchowcook

              Here's a great resource compilation on Rasberry cultivation
              see as a starting point the Taunton article
              http://www.raspberries.us/

              1. re: jen kalb

                Here is a pic of the way my parents trellis their everbearing (light summer, more fall) raspberries