Raised Beds and Raspberry Bushes

jennamae(6)March 27, 2008

Does anyone know if Black Raspberry bushes would be successful in a raised bed?

My yard backs to a farm where there are tons of discarded pieces of equipment, the people who lived here before me used chemical fertilizers on the lawn, and I am starting to think part of my property may have been a temporary dump site...great, huh?

Anyway, anything that we will consume I'd like to come from soil that I have controlled, organic and clean, but we'd love to grow raspberries.

Any thoughts?

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They would probably thrive in a raised bed.

My red raspberries are in an 16" high bed and it only took them 2 years to send out roots into the native clay soil and grow new canes in the surrounding lawn.

I left the bottom open to the ground.

I don't think black raspberries would spread like that because they send their canes up from the crown area, but it still may put roots into the old soil if you don't seal off the bottom.

I doubt that would hurt them.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2008 at 10:33AM
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I agree with Murky. Your Blackberries will do fine in the raised beds. I love that you call them Black Raspberries, bacause that's what I used to call them when I was a boy, before I learned that they're mostly referred to as Blackberries.

I was thinking that the raised bed would help keep them under control, and it may. But Blackberries and Raspberries are so prolific (so "invasive," when you don't want them...), you may still find them sneaking out beyond the limits of the bed.

My interest has always been in historic agriculture, and I placed a post early this week on The Heirloom Orchardist about controlling Blackberries early. Check it out if you have a moment!


Here is a link that might be useful: The Heirloom Orchardist

    Bookmark   March 27, 2008 at 10:47PM
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Well, I'll get some hogs on order right now, George; that was an interesting posting. In the Portland, Oregon area, rental goats have been in the news the past two years, they are being used to remove many unwanted plants, but I don't think they dig roots much.

In the Willamette Valley, home of much commercial berry production, native-born Oregonians call black raspberries "blackcaps".

A google of "black raspberry" gives 303,000 results; a search for blackcaps + berry gives less than 5,000 results(the term blackcap is used mainly for non-edible items, so it must be searched for with "berry" to give meaningful results for this topic).

Black raspberries are not unruly and would spread only by allowing cane tips to arch out and take root, or by birds spreading the seeds.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 12:23AM
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Aren't blackberries and black raspberries different (though related) plants? Black raspberries have the hollow core that red raspberries do.

I've been thinking about planting some next year, along with a bed for asparagus. I don't want the kind of take-over, uncontrollable, never-get-rid-of-it situation I associate with blackberries and to a lesser extent with red raspberries. Call me a coward if you like. But I am seriously considering planting some black raspberries.


    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 12:18PM
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Black raspberries and blackberries are most definitely two different, but very closely related (both are members of the Rubus genus), species. Black raspberries are hollow as the receptacle stays on the plant when they're picked, and blackberries are not hollow, as the receptacle comes with the fruit when picked. Also, the fruit of blackberries are quite shiny, while black raspberries are dull. The flavor is quite different too.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 1:27PM
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Well at first I felt silly for calling them Black Raspberries, which I too have done since I was a kid, but now I see I've started a debate...wonderful. And got the answer to my question. Thanks everyone!!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2008 at 10:14PM
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Um, George, you were right when you were a boy. Black raspberries are just what the name says, and are different plants than blackberries. I have grown both. Better double check this one before you put it in your agricultural history.

And Jennamae, this is not really a debatable issue. Listen to what the Fruitgirl says. As for growing your black raspberries on land that may have been a dumpsite, that is surely not a pleasant thought, but you should be ok so long as there are no concentrations of heavy metals or serious chemical pollutants like arsenic. You might send in a few samples of your soil for testing if you are unsure. Might cost a few bucks, but would be better than worrying.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

    Bookmark   March 31, 2008 at 11:25PM
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I am debating planting a row of blackberries and raspberries along my 6' wooden fence. Sunlight is not an issue. My concern is that the fence is pressure treated wood with stain over it. I put up the fence 3 years ago. Would anyone out there be concerned about planting berries along the fence due to the chemicals in the wood and/or stain? I would love to hear some opinions.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 12:04PM
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I wouldn't be.

However, I also wouldn't plant berries of any kind next to a fence. You want to have access to both sides of the plant, or you'll end up not being able to pick almost half of your crop.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 12:18PM
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Pressure treated wood no longer contains the arguably toxic arsenates that it did in the past. Even then, only very small amounts of toxins were likely to leach into the soil, and were confined to a few inches. So I would not be at all concerned about putting in berries next to the fence.

Agree with Fruitgirl that access to both sides of berry rows is the ideal situation, but the ideal is sometimes the enemy of the good. In my yard, the only reasonable site for berries is along my extensive fences, and that's where they are. We do not have problems with picking, but very aggressive spreaders like raspberries can go under the fence into neighbor's territory. These may have to be removed occasionally by digging out, but if the neighbor wants to leave them, that's ok too.

My blackberries are the long, trailing thornless types (Triple Crown and Doyle), and are trained to large trellis structures a couple of feet from the fence. There is room to go behind the trellises to prune and pick. Just finished a large bowl of last season's frozen blackberries not 5 minutes ago. Urp.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 12:37PM
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Haha, I'm getting ready to plant 30 raspberry bushes right along a fence. I figure the birds can enjoy the berries that I can't reach. Better half a crop then none!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 1:48PM
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I planted three plants from the evil overlord Walmart last year in my beds made from 2"x12" PT wd. I thought that I lost them over the winter, I did not take the time to mulch them over winter, but when I went to the backyard a week ago they were burting forth with new growth and about 50 or more new canes. I am going to plant a bunch of strawberries in the same bed tonight, I hope this has no adverse affects.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 4:18PM
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Planting strawberries in the same bed with raspberries sounds like a bad idea.

The raspberries will overgrow, grow through, and shade the strawberries. I don't think the strawberries stand a chance and if they do make a few berries it will be a big hassle to pick them.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 7:10PM
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Agree with Murky that mixing strawberries or anything else in a raspberry bed will be messy. The strawberries will not be able to produce up to their potential, and you will have some trouble with weeds that will be more difficult to deal with because of the strawberries. But if you are limited for space, one does what one must.

Mulch those raspberries.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 7:51PM
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I am somewhat limited on space right now. This year I plan on making a few new beds to add to the ones I have already. Until then I figured I would see what would happen. What does eveybody mulch raspberries with?? I have heard using anything from shredded paper to pine straw to straw and grass clippings. I am trying to make it low maintanece as possible. What is your take on this??


    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 1:21PM
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I've used medium fir bark, goat manure and horse manure with wood shavings. Weeds haven't been a problem in my raised bed.

The biggest maintenance is picking the berries before they are overripe or rot. After that I suppose is pruning but that takes less than 10 minutes a few times a year for my 8' by 2' bed.

Watering is the biggest thing.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 5:57PM
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