Planting Raspberries Our Way
Careful Where you Plant Raspberries!
Our farm at Blackberry Blossom was started by Ed's dad in 1980. He took
planting raspberries seriously and planted a large patch of black
raspberries. Unfortunately, he planted them next to the blackberries,
which is a big no-no. We tried moving them in 1999 to another field but
most of those original black raspberries have had to be dug and burned
because of disease.
These days, learning from trial & error, we're very careful where we
plan and plant our fruits and vegetables, and constantly monitor them for
signs of disease or nutritional needs in the soil. As our rocky
clay-laden soil becomes healthier through yearly amending with organic
material we see less and less problems.
Ed, with the help of his German Shepherds, plowing up a new row for
Ed explains his planting madness...
Starting in Spring 2007, we've planted a 10 row patch of red and yellow
raspberries each of the last 2 years. We planted several different
varieties of red raspberries to experiment with flavor, ripening time
and growing success for our area. All of our plants were purchased from
Henry Fields Seed and Nursery
Michigan Bulb Co.
We highly recommend these nursery companies. We've had lesser success
from other companies we've ordered from but Henry Fields and Michigan
Bulb have never disappointed us with products or service.
As I mentioned on our
page, I lay out each row 50 feet long. The rows are spaced 10 feet apart. I
stake out the ends of each row and then plow 3 or 4 furrows down each
row. As you can see, the old Simplicity 7116 has plenty of power to do
After plowing each row, I switch to the tiller and with the help of a rock
picker (she's the one in the blue pants) I till each row several times
until all of the sod is broken up and the rocks are removed. My girls
then descend on the new patch and remove all of the grass clumps. These
we haul off and use for fill somewhere or compost.
Water for planting raspberries
When the rows are ready to be planted, I install
the watering system I mentioned on our
page. The valve in the rectangular box controls flow to all 10 rows in the
patch and valves in the round boxes controls flow to each individual
Simple, easy, free... creek water, gravity-fed irrigation.
Unroll the Poly Pipe
It helps to straighten the poly pipe by laying it in the sun for a few
I connect a 50 ft. long 3/4 inch poly pipe down each row and install a
threaded cap on the lower end of each one. I remove these caps in the
fall to drain the system.
"Everybody up & out! It's time for planting raspberries!"
After installing the watering system, it's time to actually plant. This is a
real team effort. I hand dig a trench down the center of each row to
provide plenty of room for the plant roots. Daughter #1 places a shovel
of compost every two feet in the trench. Daughter #2 mixes this compost
into the soil and plants the raspberries which have been soaking in a
bucket of water for a couple of hours.
Ed checks the raspberry planting depth
Planting raspberries... Ed, "The Raspberry Whisperer" (Heh, heh...)
I then go back over the row smoothing everything out and checking to make
sure the plants are at the right depth.
Punching the holes
After each row is planted, I install the drip emitters in the pipe, one on
either side of the plant. I start by punching a hole in the pipe using
the Katif Miracle Punch as shown. You can find the emitters, punch, and
the emitter inserter equipment at
. These folks are a nice, friendly company who ship quickly and carry a
great line of irrigation supplies.
Emitter Insert Tip!"
I then enlarge the hole using the straight Katif Punch/Inserter. I used
to use this punch to make the holes in the pipe, but have found it much
easier to make the initial hole with the Miracle Punch and enlarge it
with this one.
The other end of this tool is used to insert the
emitters. The emitters have holes on opposite sides from which the
water flows. I try to place the emitters so these holes are located
towards the sides of the pipe instead of inline with it. I do this by
placing the emitter in the tool so that the holes are inline with the
printed flat on the tool. Then I place my index finger on this flat and
keep it towards the side of the pipe as I push the emitter into the
hole. You can hear a click as the emitter snaps into place.
I plant 24 plants in each row on 2 ft. centers and install 2 emitters per
plant. That's 48 emitters per row which I can usually install in about
a half an hour. When the emitters are installed, I turn on the water
for that row and water the plants in while we're planting raspberries
in the next row.
The finished irrigation pipe with emitters installed.
See the raspberry plant in between the two emitters. They're small
plants now but in a few years those little sticks will produce big
After planting raspberries, mulch well
When all of the rows have been planted, it's off to the mulch pile with
pitch forks and snow shovels.
Ground Hog Control!
We have several groundhog that make their home on the edge of our fields in
the cool forest banks above the creeks. We rather like these creatures,
they're not much bother except for the love of eating our newly leafing
out raspberry buds. To control these varmints humanely & still
live with their presence, we put windmill pinwheels around the outer
perimeter of the fields. The noise and constant movement have given our
raspberry plants a chance to outgrow the groundhogs' appetite.
It has been two years since I first planted the Red Raspberries.
I wish I could report they are a great success, but not everything in life works out
and the raspberries seem to be in that category. Although I planted them in
the middle of a two year drought, I watered them with the irrigation system
and they seemed to start out good. I just couldn't seem to keep enough water on them.
Then, every fall just before the first frost, deer have completely de-leafed every plant.
I am still wondering if this was really bad for the plants because the leaves would
have been gone in a week or so anyway. Loosing their leaves like this without
the accompanying freeze may have screwed up the plants metabolism.
After the drought, this year we had record rainfall and a very cool summer.
Nothing did very well on the farm this year. I have lost some of the plants but many
are still hanging on. I am not going to throw in the towel until I have
at least a couple of "normal" years to judge by.