Friday, May 22, 2009

Berries

When the Heritage raspberries that we planted more than 15 years ago seemed to be in decline last summer, I decided to renovate the bed and order some new berry bushes. Even though the new berries probably shouldn't go where the old berries were, I figured that amending the soil with plenty of compost and adding some new soil from the local landscape supply company would allow the new plants to do well enough in that spot (this is a good example of rationalizing---amending an old bed is a lot easier than digging a new one).

When I bought new berries for this year, I ordered three wineberry plants and a Black Jewel raspberry plant. These wouldn’t completely fill the bed, but they would be a start. I chose these because, when we lived on the Eastern Shore, wineberries and black raspberries grew wild near our home, and they worked up into the best jam that I have ever made. I am hoping to replicate that jam in a year or two.

Anyway, the new plants arrived in good shape several weeks ago, but they are not yet in the ground. The Heritage raspberries seem to have recovered from whatever their problem was last year (two years of drought?), so I haven't pulled them up. That means I still need to find a place to plant the new berry bushes.

The new bushes have been bumped up into bigger pots for now, and as I spend more time working in the yard, I keep thinking that (surely!) I will find a good place for them. For now, though, I will just have to wait for the yard---and my brain---to identify that good place.

These new bushes all make very long canes and should be trellised, unlike the Heritage raspberries, and that will have to be taken into account when the final planting spot is chosen. Of course, I could just let them run riot like they did on the Eastern Shore. Those all seemed healthy and were certainly productive, but in some spots the thickets were nearly impenetrable and were home to numerous ticks.

In spite of the scratches and the ticks, we all really enjoyed picking and eating those berries---even our dog, Badger. She would eat, right off the prickly canes, all the berries that were in her reach.

2 comments:

  1. Man I wish I had your luck with Heritage raspberries! I am in Decatur with partial sun and I got a few berries the first year and then those canes died. This year the 1 cane left put out leaves and set fruit and got me excited, but then all the leaves yellowed and the cane died while the fruit was ripening.

    There are 3-4 new shoots that I hope can survive so I can try again next year, but I don't have high hopes.

    So sad because you really can't beat fresh raspberries.

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  2. Alan,

    I wish I knew what the problem is, too. It's a puzzle! Have you

    1. had the soil tested, and/or
    2. taken a dead cane to the county extension office to see if they have a clue?

    I hate when my plants die, so I am really sorry about yours. I do know that raspberries are susceptible to verticillium wilt, but I don't have a clue what else might be killing yours.

    If I were you and planning to try again, I would probably try planting them in a different place in the yard. Hard, I know, when the little patches of sun are so few and far between as they are in most of the Atlanta area.

    Good luck!

    -Amy

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