A Tidy Raspberry Patch

I love love love raspberries. One of my favorite memories as a kid was eating raspberries straight off the bushes in the backyard, one after another, until I was so full I couldn’t possibly eat another. At our house in Wisconsin, the raspberries grew in a bed along the fence at the back of the property. In my dad’s current house, however, the raspberries have spread all over the yard.

…more raspberries…
…and more raspberries…
and more raspberries!

They’ve become a bit of a nuisance, growing where paths should be, and just generally looking untidy. I would love to have a nice neat raspberry patch like one of these:

Raspberry Patch: Friend or Foe? - Gardening - Chowhound
Image source
Image source

I’m not entirely sure how realistic this is. At the very least, I have my work cut out for myself.

First, some things to know about raspberry bushes:

Diagram of the parts of a raspberry plant. Roots, rhizome, primocanes, floricanes, suckers and fruit are labeled.
From UMN Extension
  1. Each raspberry cane lives two seasons: during the first season, it is called a primocane, and during the second, it is called a floricane.
  2. Some varieties of raspberries are summer-bearing and others are ever-bearing. Ever-bearing varieties produce fruit on both primocanes and floricanes. The fruit on the primocanes comes later in the summer (because they’re have to grow from nothing that season), whereas fruit from floricanes comes earlier in the summer. If you have a summer-bearing variety, only floricanes produce fruit, so you will only get a harvest in early summer. The everbearing varities will give you a floricane harvest in early summer and then a primocane harvest in late summer.
  3. Floricanes should be cut back to ground level after they have fruited.
  4. Lastly, raspberries like to spread. They do this by sending out underground runners from which new shoots sprout up. Fortunately, these new shoots aren’t that fast nor are they hard to pull, so with a little maintenance, raspberry bushes can be contained.

We’re planning to construct a trellis system to corral all of the raspberries in this area. The backyard is pretty sloped, and this area has several terraced beds. This is actually where the raspberries started out, and we don’t really have a better place to put them, so we’ll keep them there.

Check back in a week or so to see how it goes!

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