Thursday, March 22, 2012

Planting Raspberry Canes 木いちごの植え方

A good friend of mine exchanged pruning for some raspberry canes--I helped her and her husband prune their Buckley Giant apple tree and an Asian pear tree, and I went home the happy owner of five raspberry canes. I know these raspberries are delicious, because she shared a frozen bag full of them with me last fall when I really, really wanted to make raspberry jam. I love friends like these!
Anyway, it's been raining more than usual here in the Seattle area (hard to believe, I know), plus we've had more snow, then hail, sleet and wind storms, so it hasn't exactly been the best weather to go out and plant. There was a break in the downpour a couple of days ago, so I bundled up and went outside.
Raspberries do not like wet feet, so they need to be planted in well-drained soil. Several years ago, we planted raspberries along our east fence line, but they all died within two years.  I figured out that it was too wet there for them there, and planted blueberries instead. The blues love the wet soil! Our west fence line has been built up and since the strawberries do very well there, I think the raspberries will, too. They also like slightly acidic soil, and do not do well in clay or heavy soils. If you have heavy soil, adding manure or compost will lighten it.
I didn't shake the soil off the roots before I planted the canes. They're used to this soil and it will make moving house a little bit easier for them. If you've ordered canes from a nursery, be sure the roots are kept damp. If you think they might be dehydrated, place them in a bucket of water for a couple of hours before you plant them outside.

Set your canes on top of the soil where you want them. Space them 18 inches to 3 feet (0.5-1.0 meter) apart. If you have enough for more than one row, space the rows at least 6 feet (2 meters) apart--you want to be sure you have enough room to walk between the rows, otherwise picking the berries will become a nightmare.
Dig a hole a little bigger than the root ball. On any other day, I would have filled the hole with water, but since the soil was waterlogged and it was still raining, I figured it was OK not to water. (It does have good drainage, as soon as the rain decides to stop...) Place the root ball in the hole and encourage the roots outward.

Fill the soil back in around the roots. It's OK to cover the cane a little bit more than before, but not more than an inch or two (3-5 cm). Pat the soil with your hands to make sure there are no air pockets. Don't stomp in it with your boot, just a good pat with your hands will do.

I planted all five of them--wait, SIX of them--along the west fence line, behind the strawberries. When I first saw them in my friend's garden, I told her she needed to prune them. To which she promptly replied, "Oh no, not this variety. The berries grow on the second year canes, so you're not supposed to prune them." She couldn't remember the specific variety, but she knows her berries better than I do, so I'll take her word for it.
These will need to be trellised so they will grow up and not along the ground (a couple of them already got bent during transport). But by the time I got them planted, I was pretty wet, so I'll trellis them another day. Oh, and that board in the background? I used that to stand on while I planted so I wouldn't have to walk directly on the soil and make a muddy mess around the strawberries. It also kept my boots just a tad cleaner.

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