Man, am I loving this daylight savings time!! It’s so nice to have a few extra hours in the evenings to work.
Last week, we drove to a local man’s house and bought some raspberry bushes. I couldn’t pass up $4 per bush! Plus, he totally hooked us up. We were only going to get 6, but he threw in 6 extra, which was wonderful. He also invited us to come back and get some flowers and strawberries. I told him I’d bring him a loaf of freshly baked bread in return.
A couple of years ago, we bought peaches from this same man, and he let us glean from his raspberry bushes. The kids had so much fun picking, and definitely ate way more than they put in their baskets. His raspberries were melt-in-your-mouth good. I’m excited to be growing some of the same variety myself! And now that we don’t have crazy goats free ranging the property, maybe they’ll have a chance to actually produce!
I’ve been wanting to line the parking area of our driveway with raised beds for a while now, since that spot gets full sun almost all day long, so this is where we decided to plant the raspberries. We had some extra railroad ties laying around, which were perfect for this project.
The first thing to do was to line up the railroad ties where I wanted them. I spaced them a little over 3 ft. apart. I might have to move them slightly though. The railroad ties are a little over 8′ long, and we’ll be cutting a few in half to make end pieces for the beds. I should have measured how long half of one of these railroad ties would be before spacing my beds. It might be close though.
I covered the ground with cardboard as a weed barrier. You could also use several layers of newspaper (not the colored pages).
Next, I filled it with compost. We ordered a couple of dump truck loads this year for our garden. About a billion shovelfuls of this stuff later, and my bed was ready for planting.
Here is what the raspberry bushes looked like. Not exactly what I tend to picture when I think of buying a bush. These are “bare root” plants. The man we bought them from had just dug them up. Don’t worry, they’ll be beautiful green plants in no time!
I spaced them 24 inches apart, and buried them deep enough to cover the roots and wide enough that the roots could spread out freely. Doesn’t look like much now, but I envision a beautiful, edible hedge one day.
After finishing up this bed, I created two more just like it. And was incredibly grateful when my husband came home in time to help me fill the last beds with dirt. Boy, was I sore from all that shoveling!
Which reminds me of something I thought was really cute… so I’ll share.
At one point while I was out there working in the heat of the day, I became aware of a pair of little eyes studying my efforts. I wondered what Titus was thinking as he watched his mommy toiling away. After a few good minutes of pondering from a short distance, he walked up to me and said, “Here Mommy, let me have that,” and he reached out to take the shovel from my hand. I was hesitant to let him have it though… I kinda felt bad allowing my five year old to work that hard on a hot day. But I saw an opportunity to allow him to feel the satisfaction of helping, and really stepping up in a manly sorta way, and so I smiled and handed it over.
I was surprised by how much dirt that boy could move! What a precious little guy. I stopped him after a few minutes, and suggested we go inside for a glass of sweet tea to cool us off from such hard work. We rarely give the kids sweet tea, so that was my way of rewarding and thanking him.
As we went inside he said to me, “I just felt bad that you were out here working so hard all by yourself!” And my heart melted with pride. He is turning into such a thoughtful, compassionate guy. I hope to always encourage that.
So, anyways… most raspberry canes need to be trellised and pruned, we won’t need build a support system for this variety of raspberries. They are an “Everbearing Heritage” variety, and should produce heavily. And what’s cool is that raspberry bushes spread like crazy, so I’ll be able to get even more plants off of these in the coming years.
Oh, and dried raspberry leaves make a wonderful herbal tea. I drank it a lot during my pregnancy, so it’ll be great to have a fresh source directly!
I’m so excited!! Can’t wait to have more perennial edibles on our land!
April 2013 UPDATE: Here’s a photo of the raspberry bed almost exactly one year after planting. Looking good! I’ll need to thin out the new growth and transplant the shoots elsewhere so it doesn’t overcrowd.
Aug. 2013 UPDATE: Here are some photos of our raspberry bushes about a year and a half after planting. Really producing strong now!…
And there you go! That’s all it takes to plant raspberry bushes.