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Red Bucket Farm is an urban farm on a quarter acre property in an average residential neighborhood. We are located in Wisconsin, USDA Zone 5. We focus on chickens, bees, orchard fruit, and raised garden beds for fruits and veggies. We hope to reduce our footprint on the planet by growing some of our food, reducing our use of fossil fuels, and gardening with sustainable practices. Thanks for visiting!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Disappointing Raspberries

You can never have too many raspberries, right? So I'm not completely crazy in devoting a significant portion of my urban farm to these lovely gems. Except there's one small problem: I'm really lousy at growing raspberries!

We have a 4x8' raised bed that is full of summer bearing raspberries. We planted them three years ago. We didn't expect anything the first year, but we were hopeful the second year. The bed filled in nicely and we got a handful of berries last summer. The plants grew tall, so we fashioned a trellis system to keep them more organized.
Our home-made trellis system uses T-shaped end pieces made of pvc pipe and mounted on six foot garden stakes. We strung plastic covered clothesline through the supports, all the way around the bed and through the center of the bed. The vines are supported at knee, waist and shoulder heights.

I trimmed the canes carefully in early spring, removing only the dead canes. I added plenty of compost as fertilizer, all to no avail. Every day I pick a small handful of raspberries, barely enough to flavor my bowl of yogurt and certainly not enough to freeze for use later. Perhaps the majority of the raspberry crop arrived in mid-July when we were on vacation and the robins enjoyed my berries?

By contrast, my strawberry bed of the same dimension provided far more fruit than we could eat, prompting me to plug in the freezer and get to work. At this point, I need to reconsider the raspberries. If they're not going to produce fruit, they could be replaced by a more productive crop. Meanwhile, I've added fall-bearing raspberries to the hillside garden. Although these are new this summer, they are already looking more promising than the established summer-bearing plants.

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