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a raspberry guild

 
Joshua Msika
Posts: 66
Location: Nova Scotia
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Hello,

My job this summer is to plan and set up low-maintenance food-producing areas on my parents' property over the summer and I am a bit overwhelmed. I've heard planning and setting up are the two hardest parts to gardening.

The first thing I've tackled are a few raspberry canes that were being smothered by grass. I've sickled away all the grass and it is now piled up in a heap. I plan to chop it up a bit finer and put it back under the raspberries, cover it with a few layers of newspaper and top it all off with some dead leaves and wood chips.

The problem is that if I don't plant anything else there, seeds will quickly blow in from our meadow and create the problem again. I was wondering what other plants would go well under (or potentially over) the raspberries to fill all the niches so that there is no room left for anything else. I live Nova Scotia, Canada. We get around -20 (around 0 F) minimum in winter, wet spring, drier summer with temperatures up to 30 (86 F), and first frost around early october.

The patch is right by our back door so I'm probably putting some garlic in there, unless I should put beans in? For nitrogen. The garlic kills the nitrogen-fixing bacteria. We have some lovage that's too far away from the door so I'll put it there too. I'm thinking of putting a fruit tree in the middle of it all, apple probably. However, neither the garlic nor the lovage competes well with grass...

Any commments? suggestions?
 
Joshua Msika
Posts: 66
Location: Nova Scotia
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Have done some research on the forums. For the benefit of future readers:

-wood chips are very good mulching material for raspberries only.
-daffodils as well as hollyhocks are possible candidates for guild partners.
-nettles were mentioned but I don't feel like introducing them to this area since there are none yet.
-what I am really looking for are some ground cover plants.
 
Emil Spoerri
pollinator
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dandelion or chicory, white or alsike clover, strawberries, mint, turnups or raab, comefry
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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as was said above, that was what i was going to suggest..any herbs that spread well would work well and you can even use perennial flowers ..i also have some winter squash growing under mine and have put in seeds of hollyhocks to fill in the gaps between the taller raspberries
 
Leila Rich
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Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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I've got a large raspberry patch that would be much larger if I let it!
From what I've seen, they're not 'sharers'; they grow too thick and shade things out.  I'd usually advocate mixing it up, but in raspberries' case, I think it could be a pain.
They're also pretty greedy.  I throw comost at them, then  mulch  thickly with old pea straw, keeps down my New Zealand weeds!

 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
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pippimac wrote:
I've got a large raspberry patch that would be much larger if I let it!
From what I've seen, they're not 'sharers'; they grow too thick and shade things out.  I'd usually advocate mixing it up, but in raspberries' case, I think it could be a pain.


It sounds like guild members might serve to restrain the spread of the patch, then, rather than being interplanted?

Are there any neighbors to your raspberries that don't need your help in holding ground, or that need less help than others?
 
Emil Spoerri
pollinator
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Also, brambles in general make good nurse crops for fruit trees, or so I have read.
 
Leila Rich
steward
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Comfrey.  It can certainly hold its own with a raspberry patch!
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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I highly recommend black raspberries, mine bear all summer from June until fall hard freezes, and they are very very prolific in their growth and bearing, you can also lay one down and it will root at every node, or if the tip touches the ground it will root. I have had canes grow 20 feet long..i know in the past that has been questioned until i showed photos..i loop them back onto themselves being careful to not let them touch the ground (as they'll root)
 
Joshua Msika
Posts: 66
Location: Nova Scotia
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Thanks for the replies everyone! I shall now try to see what I can find in the area. Comfrey is sounding very good, so is hollyhocks (because we have some growing somewhere else already). I'll put garlic in there too, you can never have enough garlic. I shall also try to transplant mint and lovage again, the ones I moved in a few days ago are dying slowly, especially the lovage.

Any advice for me there? I dug them out, trying my best to keep the soil around the roots and put them right on the soil before putting on a layer of hay, a layer of newspaper and a layer of woodchips mixed with old leaves... I'm not sure if I was supposed to sheet mulch first then plant things into the top layer or if I should have put the mulch around the plants.
 
Emerson White
Posts: 1206
Location: Alaska
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Joel, you will damage production long before you restrain spread with a guild.

I would actually steer away from comfrey, either it wont get enough light to do well, and it wont help, or it will get enough light, and it will kill your air flow and that leads to fungal diseases. Airflow is one of the best natural defenses against disease. I think a low growing mint would be my first choice, plus they are good to harvest together, because the flavors blend so well, try and aim for a mint that doesn't grow more than 8" tall in your area.
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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That was me with the comfrey. It's not in the bed with the berries, but round the edges. The berries grow too thickly for much to thrive in with them so it's just compost, mulch and whatever pokes through it.
Allows me to thin them out relatively easily too.
 
Jill McPartlin
Posts: 17
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I have about a 13 ft. space on the side of my deck and I was thinking of planting some raspberries there.
What would be a good width?  How high do most raspberries grow?  Do they need a trellis?  Should I try to make a guild and intersperse them with other things? (I do have a TON of mint it has taken over one area).  Or should I just leave it at raspberries only until they are well established?
 
Chris Kott
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Location: Toronto, Ontario
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I have a raspberry patch that has, over the last two decades, spread through the lawn that used to be there and supplanted it. Right now I have end posts for each row, and I interweave the canes with jute twine to keep them upright and in discrete rows, one line two-thirds up the canes, and every two feet up after that. This allows complete access by the sun to every part of every cane, and lets light at the ground between rows, which allows for the growing of guild plants at the base of the canes. I am seeding the rows of canes with wildflower mix that includes two types of flax, comfrey, and clovers, among others. I can't find seed for clovers, vetches, or for comfrey in my area, by the way, so I'm going to have to harvest seed from the individuals from the wildflower mix. Any ideas? Oh, I'm also going to try strawberries in those places where there's enough sun. Does anyone know the rules for pruning everbearing raspberries? I regularly thin twisted or weak-looking canes in the fall, I prune dead tips, and transplant canes in the spring to maintain 6-8 canes per sq. ft. I figure seeding the guild either in the spring before the canes fill out or after pruning would let more light at other plants at the base of the canes.

-CK
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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some things I have growing in raspberry patches that work for me are : daffodills, aegopodium, fleeceflower, hollyhocks (for pollination) and I have a few garlic bulbs in one patch.

my suggestion is to plant things you do NOT have to harvest, cause of the thorns.

Seems like comfrey would also be helpful and possibly rhubarb would work well also...to help provide some mulch.

Careful of the grass clippings being too thick and might go bad on you..I'd mix them with some brown material such as dead leaves
 
Anna Demb
Posts: 26
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Chris Kott wrote:Does anyone know the rules for pruning everbearing raspberries?

-CK


this is from the Fedco catalogue:
Everbearing raspberries: Plant 9–15" apart. Because everbearing types
bear fruit on first-year and second-year canes, you have a couple of
options. In warmer districts (or for northern New Englanders with an
adventurous spirit), you can leave the first-year canes to overwinter after
they fruit. The following year, you will get a light crop in early summer
from those now two-year-old canes, followed by a larger crop later from
the new first-year canes. In colder areas generally you would cut all canes to
the ground in late fall after the leaves drop, or in early spring; new first-year
canes will fruit in mid-late summer.
 
Ken W Wilson
Posts: 384
Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
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I've grown black raspberries by my deck and under a Montmorency cherry for about ten years. The cherries and the berries have both done great. I had expected the berry plants to need to be moved to new ground several years ago. They like the shade from the tree. The berries on the north side are much healthier than on the south.
 
John Saltveit
gardener
Posts: 2005
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bike books food preservation forest garden fungi trees
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Black raspberies and pie cherries are two of the healthiest things you could possibly eat, and among the most delicious. Raspberries including black raspberries usually want some shade in summer heat areas like Missouri.
John S
PDX OR
 
John Polk
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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Raspberries including black raspberries usually want some shade in summer heat areas

Yes. Raspberries can be subject to sun scald.
They seem to do best when they get morning sun, and afternoon shade. Afternoon sun is a killer.
Blackberries do fine in afternoon sun. Raspberries don't.

Do not plant them near where the nightshade family has grown in the past few years - verticillium wilt can wipe them out.

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