Propagating my own Raspberries

    There are many ways to propagate berries. Some are easier than others but all take some amount of work and continued maintenance, if you want your berries to continue to produce at the level they should. My favorite methods include cuttings, runners, and transplanting. I have the most experience with transplanting because my patch of raspberries was entirely grown in this way. A farm nearby had a very good patch of raspberries and the man who managed our garden many years ago decided he wanted to start a patch for our farm. I learned much from him and he told me how he transplanted the berries and taught me how to care for them.
     His first step was traveling to the nearby farm and selecting the best canes, some of which stood fairly apart from the main plant; he pruned them back a bit so they weren’t too much trouble to handle. Experience taught him the best canes to pick for this were second year canes which had already produced and to dig them when the ground became dig-able in the spring before the canes began to bud. Step one he used a pointed shovel and cut the ground around the cane in a circle so that when the cane was pulled up a nice piece of rootball came with it. He then had to transport his nearly 400 plantings for an hour in the back of a big van to our farm. By making sure that all the roots were still covered by plenty of dirt he ensured that they would not dry out too badly on the trip. Some methods for protecting roots for transplanting like this are: put the rootball of the plantings in a damp burlap sack and tie the top so the roots are completely covered. The planting could be put in a bucket of very damp soil till planting (Empress of Dirt) a bucket of damp sand also works for this; if your dirt is not ready yet the transplants could be planted in a container for a growing season and put in the ground later when they become dormant again (northscaping).
     The area that was set aside for the raspberries was large; nearly half acre of land that had been tilled and fertilized with old manure. This rich bed had been prepared in advance of his going to collect the transplants. It is best to find a spot for planting and prepare it before digging up the plantings so their roots spend the least amount of time above ground (Empress of Dirt). Holes were then dug about two feet apart. Depending on how much you plan to prune your bushes make sure they are far enough apart so that they don’t immediately crowd each other with new growth. Also create your rows at least 6 feet apart from the edges of the inside bushes. The bushes with quickly grow a lot of vegetation and these walkways will quickly become impassible if the bushes are not pruned often; this I know just by the last 5 years of having to prune said bushes. After the bushes were planted my mentor then put in fence posts every 12 feet or so in a line down the center of each row. He then nailed a cross piece about four feet high on each posts and ran lines of bailing twine along each side of the bushes to hold them upright and later to keep the thick new growth from hanging too far into the walkway. This worked for a few years but did need to be changed periodically as it wore out. Lines of wire or ropes can also work for this (homeguides). Another method of securing canes is trellising; I have not personally tried it but find it interesting and perhaps in the future will use it just to see how it does for me (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghE4XrojNcA) this method is pretty easy to follow.
     The raspberries have been growing now for about eight years and are pretty healthy still. I cut them back a lot especially the row length because 270 feet is just too long for a row, 150 seems to work fine. I prune them every fall and also a few times during the growing season if the new growth is getting out of hand. I put down old manure every two years and water them with soaker hose irrigation. One issue I have run into, because of the closeness of the rows is that sunlight does not get down into the bushes the way it should. To fix this I have cut down one entire row and may have to cut more. I think that by staggering the rows with larger walkways more light should reach the inside bushes. In the future I plan to rely more on mulching than mowing and tilling to help keep weeds down. Our local sawmill has an abundance of wood chips so I will probably use that. As of now I have 7 rows of a red variety known as Canby and one row of yellow called Amber. Both have slightly different taste and the reds tend to produce earlier and faster than the yellow but many people like the yellow’s mildly, sweet flavor. I like them both and do everything in my power to make them produce well every summer. AB Delta Junction
Websites:
By Amelia Alloys: How to secure raspberry canes to wires. Accessed Sept. 26, 2016
By James Kohut:    10 tips for minimizing transplant shock, Accessed Sept. 26, 2016
By Melissa J. Will:   How to transplant raspberries. Accessed Sept. 26, 2016
Youtubes:
By Melissa K. Norris:  How to tie and trellis raspberries. Accessed Sept. 26, 2016
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