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seeking raspberry cover crop and trellising suggestions

 
Christopher G Williams
Posts: 69
Location: Ossineke, MI
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So I've been expanding our raspberry patch for the past several years and it's now heading for an area of dense grass. It is some of the most prime real estate in our garden, and I would like to get the grass out anyway, so I've been pulling it and considering my options for planting.

In the main raspberry patch we have a normal 'vineyard' type trellis with red clover planted in between the rows. I have some complaints about this setup and I was considering trying a different cover crop and different trellis system for the new area. I was thinking of doing individual 'tent' or 'teepee' type trellises instead of the long rows with either white clover or bird's foot trefoil as a cover since the red clover is a little tall and can shade out small canes.

Now I am reading that your shouldn't use clover at all in a raspberry patch, since it can host diseases and pests. I've had this set up for several years now with no apparent major problems... Any suggestions on alternate cover crops or advice on this idea more generally?
 
Topher Belknap
Posts: 205
Location: Midcoast Maine (zone 5b)
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I have heard that strawberries are a good under raspberries. But to be honest have never been able to get anything to grow under there (japanese knotweed coming up through doesn't count). I would plant clover until they fill in, but I plant clover everywhere, what do I know.
 
Judith Browning
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Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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I like the idea of strawberries under raspberries, I haven't tried that. and I didn't know that clover was not good with raspberries.
I have chocolate mint under some of mine, oregano under others. I've been using heritage raspberries as part of my fruit tree guilds and just staking individual clumps of canes. They seem to really like the mint. I am cutting both it and the oregano to dry now so that helps to open up the canes for better air flow....probably will cut both of them back another two or three more times before fall.
 
Leila Rich
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Welcome to permies Christopher
Christopher G Williams wrote:I am reading that your shouldn't use clover at all in a raspberry patch, since it can host diseases and pests

I've never heard of clover hosting anything but lovely nitrogen-fixing bacteria
I'm really interested in that info, do you have a link?
I've tried clover under the raspberries and it never 'took'-I think the shady spot wasn't to its taste...
The only plants I've found do ok under raspberries are violets and wild straberries (domestic need more sun than in my spot)
I bet mint would be happy, but I'm a bit scared of its matting habits and haven't tried it.
Maybe it's time I did.
*edit* I planted mint...
While raspberries aren't climbers, they've clearly got plans for world domination as far as height and spread goes...!
I find the most practical setup is to have posts creating the corners of a rectangle of whatever length suits you.
About 1m apart's good-any wider and I tend to find myself floundering around, and while there not very prickly plants, they're kind of 'pokey'.
String, ripped sheets or bamboo make good 'horizontals'.
Whatever you do, I suggest having an action-plan for dealing with runners, or you might just have raspberries as far as the eye can see

 
Christopher G Williams
Posts: 69
Location: Ossineke, MI
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I was also under the impression that the only bad thing clover could do is choke out plants... In my experience anyway, growing many types for many years, it has never caused any overt problems.

Here is the link to the PDF: http://www.fruit.cornell.edu/berry/production/pdfs/raspcovercrops.pdf
The text reads:
"Legumes- Clovers, alfalfa and vetches are not recommended for row middles in
raspberries because they have a very high
water use, their nitrogen contribution
is minimal because the crop is not incorporated, and legumes are host for several
disease and insect pests that can affect raspberries. "

 
2017 Permaculture Design Course at Wheaton Labs
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