Growing your own fresh raspberries and blackberries is actually quite easy and cost effective. All that’s needed is a little space in a sunny location and you will be rich in berries every year. Follow these tips for growing these berry varieties so you can enjoy the delicious flavor and nutrition homegrown raspberries and blackberries have to offer.
Select a location that is in full sun and has well-draining soil.
Avoid location that will stay soggy after rainfall and areas in which fruit trees, melons and other berry varieties have been grown in the past as these areas may harbor disease-causing organisms that will kill the raspberry and blackberry plants.
24 hours before planting blackberries, remove and discard the packaging materials and place plant roots in a bucket of water. Place a towel loosely around the top of bucket to keep moisture in and light out, keeping the roots covered in the bucket until the moment you’re ready put the plant in the ground.
Blackberry bushes whose roots are exposed to bright sunlight may not survive transplanting, so it’s vital to keep roots in the dark at all times.
Raspberries do not need this pre-planting soak.
Soil Preparation for Berry Plants
Till soil 10 inches deep. Add 2 inches of compost and lightly work it into the soil.
Dig a hole wide enough to accommodate the roots and 2 inches deeper than the plant’s crown. (the point where the stems of the plant meet the roots). Add 1 inch of compost to the bottom of the planting hole so the crown will be 1inch below the surface of the surrounding soil when planted.
Planting Blackberries and Raspberries
Place the roots in the planting hole and gently arrange them like the spokes of a wheel. Holding the crown at the proper level with one hand, push the soil back into the hole with the other, working soil around the roots to prevent the formation of air pockets.
Make an 18 inch diameter ring of soil around the base of the plant. This will catch and hold water and channel it down to the roots. Water well.
Caring for Your Berry Plants
Raspberries and blackberries need at least 1inch of water per week. Apply water at the base of the plants to keep moisture off the leaves to discourage disease.
Wait 6 weeks after planting before feeding. For organic berries, apply a side dressing of compost in early spring and again in July. Train vines to grow on a T-shaped trellis by loosely tying branches to trellis. Prune away old canes immediately after harvesting berries because next year’s berries will grow on new canes.