Planting Berries: Raspberries

Killarney raspberry bush well picked over by the kids but still heavy with fruit in mid-July.

My new motto is, "When the world is warring, warming, and woeful, garden!" Days in the sun mediating on what could be, designing beds and planting spring peas with my girls, has been good for the soul! Spring has emerged, the bulbs have surfaced, and the robins are deafening in their delight. This weekend I began my meditation on berries: their unparalleled sweetness when warmed in the sun and eaten off the vine, the time it takes for a patch to be established enough to weigh down fruited canes, and where to located these everlasting perennials. 

I do not yet have an ideal place for strawberries or grapes; there is quite a bit of hardscaping and deer/bear proofing to do before I can plant these. My focus now is on raspberries and whenever I am headed off to purchase new plants, I turn to the Colorado state extension service for a list of what will actually do well in our climate. In Golden we had a Killarney, Heritage, and Fall Gold.  I loved all of them but the fall gold were particularly tasty, like apricots mixed with raspberry. We had five bushes and with the girls and neighbor friends, I never even harvested a full bowl.


Southeast-facing, southwest-facing, and south-facing beds before preparation for raspberries which will involve transplanting existing plants, hardscaping, and soil-building.

I have several locations I am considering in the yard: a southeast facing bed along the driveway, a southwest-facing bed along my neighbor's driveway, and a south-facing bed in the backyard. These spaces would allow me to establish where the raspberries do the best and then potentially transplant them later to the areas demonstrating the most success five years from now. There is work to do in each space that entails digging and transplanting existing iris and yarrow and building a bed where one does not yet exist. This is on my list of spring chores.

In terms of varieties, I would like to go back to my tried and true favorites but also try a few new varieties adapted to our shorter seasons. My local nursery had Killarney and Fall Gold, but no Heritage; however, they did have several new-to-me varieties: Caroline, Souris, and Bristol Black. In my cursory reading about the Bristol Black raspberries, I have learned they should not be planted near my read and yellow raspberries, so this will add some considerations in where to plant in the three beds that are under construction for these plants. Time to get out the work gloves and the shovel! is difficult to lose hope in humanity when you meditate on raspberries! What berries do you grow and plant? What are your tips and tricks? Please do share in the comments below and happiest of springs dear gardening friends!

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