Introduction: Backyard Raspberries
Raspberries are a great addition to backyard gardening. They are easy to grow and caring for them is simplified when there is a trellis system to contain the vines. When we moved the row of raspberries this spring, we decided to provide a T-bar trellis system for managing the canes. See the following steps to create your own backyard raspberries.
Step 1: Tools/Materials
- Table or Miter saw
- Wire cutters
- Post hole digger
- Tiller (optional)
- 4x4x8' (x4)
- 3" Deck screws (x16)
- Eye hooks (x8)
- Plastic coated wire
- Wire Clamps (x8)
Step 2: Prep the Soil
We transplanted existing raspberries to another part of the yard. The main reason for the transplant was because we didn't leave enough room in the original location to get the lawnmower around the plants which required a lot of weeding on our part.
At the new location, we used a tiller to break up the soil and raked out the grass. If you don't till the ground, make sure the individual holes are large enough to allow the roots to spread.
Step 3: Add Admendments
Raspberries prefer a soil pH of around 6.0, which is slightly acidic. We had the soil tested and the pH is already slightly acidic (6.5-ish). Based on the lab results, we decided against amending the soil to lower the pH. Instead, well decomposed pine bark chips was used as a mulch. To improve the soil fertility and structure, humus, manure, Epsom Salt and Bone Meal were mixed into the existing soil before planting. The final step was to add fertilizer after planting and watering in of the canes. We only fertilize with a slow release fertilizer; we find using 10-10-10 fertilizer causes stunting. An organic alternative is using alfalfa pellets but I dont want to welcome even more deer to the orchard area of our garden. Once the compost pile is up and running, I will be using generous amounts of compost on the raspberries.
Step 4: Add Raspberry Plants
Transplant/Plant the raspberry canes. The raspberry plants should be planted 2 to 3 feet apart along the row. If you decide to go with multiple rows, spacing is debatable. Some people plant them as close as 4 feet apart. I found that is too tight for me since I want room to easily pick the berries. I also want to be able to get a lawnmower between the rows. I would recommend 7 to 8 feet between rows. Note: our other 'rows' are apple trees.
The canes should be cut back to 10" after planting. Its the roots that need to get a good start the first year of growing raspberries.
The raspberry plants should get 1 inch of water per week during the growing season, early in the season 2" per week is ideal. Once the fruit sets, make sure to give 1" of water per week during dry spells. To prevent rot and leaf disease, the plants should be watered from the ground. We buried a 50' long soaker hose adjacent to the plants, which makes watering much easier. It wraps around both sides of the row.
Step 5: Mulch
Once the canes were planted, a good 3" or more of aged pine bark mulch was used to dress the bed. In the past, we have also used straw on established beds to supress the weeds. Then, we turned on the soaker hose overnight to water them. Last, slow release fertilizer was sprinkled on top. No heavy hand here.
Step 6: Make a T-Trellis
This trellis will be used to support the canes and to keep the raspberries managable.
You will build 2 post to this drawing.
Step 7: Cut 4x4s As Shown
Cut 4x4s to the lengths shown.
Step 8: Slot 4x4s
For added strength, slot the post together as shown in the previous step. I used a miter saw with the depth set to half the thickness of the 4x4.
Video of Slot
Step 9: Assembly Tee Joint
Interlock the slots together. This should be a tight fit.
Step 10: Add Screws
Probably overkill but I used four 3" long deck screws to secure each joint.
Step 11: Add Eye-Hooks
Drill a pilot hole and screw in eye hooks. If you will be installing multiple hooks (more than one trellis), consider this hack.
Step 12: Dig Post Hole
Dig a 3 foot deep hole on both ends of the raspberry row.
Step 13: Place Post
Place post in hole and backfill with dirt. Compact dirt around post to make a tight fit.
Step 14: Add Wire
Run plastic coated wire between eyehooks. I used a wire rope thimble and clamp set to secure the wires. Note that this step can be done at a later date since your plants will be small for a while. Prolonging this step will also allow your post to fully settle into the ground - less chance of leaning.
The last picture shows our Mason Bee House which now is 1/4 full of bees :)
Step 15: Brace Posts (optional)
Ok, I didn't follow my own directions and tried to skimp on the post length (6 foot vs. 8 foot shown above) with only 2 feet in the ground. I also didn't wait to install the wire. The post leaned in with very little tension on the wire. I had to add these interior braces to keep the post vertical. Follow the previous steps and you shouldn't have this issue.
Step 16: Care
Tie canes to wire. If desired, tie fruiting canes to one side of trellis and first year canes (primocanes) to the other side of the trellis.
As summer progresses, new shoots (canes) will spring up around the plants. Check the raspberry patch weekly and weed, trim and water as needed. Prune out weak, small and crowded primocanes so that the surviors can produce more raspberries. You can also give these shoots away to others that want to start their own berry patch.