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Berry Question

 
sammy lewis
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I am getting started on building myself a food forest. My parents have both blackberries and red raspberries on their property and have had for many years. I do not know the varieties of either just that the blackberries are thornless and very large and produce tart berries that process well. The raspberries are an everbearing red and are of medium size and tend to be very good eating right off the bush. I am planning to obtain plants from their stock but in reading on how to grow these berry plants and what else I can add to my plans I read that it was not wise to plant the blackberries and raspberries together. Does anyone here have experience with growing both of these in relatively close quarters? My plan is 1 row of 10-15 feet long of each separated by other plants so they are not directly next to each other. My parents plants are separated by a distance of about 50 feet, while mine would be slightly closer. Is this a good idea or should I scrap plans for both and just focus on 1 plant or the other. I think this would be fine based on my parents experience but after reading about virus transmission between the 2 it has me slightly concerned about losing both plants. I would also at some point later to plant some golden raspberries along with these but not sure and want some advice of more seasoned growers.

Thank you for your help.
 
Bill Bradbury
pollinator
Posts: 684
Location: Richmond, Utah
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Hey Sammy,
I grow them pretty much together with no issues. I let everything find it's own way, so the raspberries have traveled over and are just about touching the blackberries. Since they produce new canes every 2 years, raspberries and blackberries can move around quite a lot, so they could be hard to process in a commercial setting if they are intermixed, but I don't see any problem for home growing.
I would however advise you to look into the heirloom varieties of both; once you try them you'll know why.
 
Andrew Mateskon
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Sammy,

I have wild blackberries and raspberries extant and growing in huge thickets all across 15 acres or so of my property. They can take over, until they are shaded out by trees. Blackberries and raspberries and black raspberries and all the varieties of each will grow next to each other and intertwine a little, but in my experience the blackberries grow much taller because their canes are thicker, and shade out the raspberries. This means that over time the two species sort themselves into tall blackberries and shorter raspberries in different places. If you manage them (I don't manage them because I can harvest enough just walking around the property), you will be able to select the canes that you like. After a year or two, it is easy to see which canes are first-year and which are second-year and which are standing there dead. I think some people prefer to cut the second-year canes early in the spring down to about 2 feet, so they branch out instead of growing tall. In the fall, they cut the second-year canes down to the ground and use the canes as mulch or whatever, the first-years are left until spring (when they become second years), and are cut to two feet in the spring, then cut out in fall just like the last year. A crown can last many years managed this way.

Another thing, just an idea. Your soil is likely acidic and well-drained if you have blackberries and raspberries everywhere. You could plant chestnuts, apples, hazels, and cherry. They all like acidic soil, and are pretty happy with the good drainage (especially chestnut). You could also do korean stone pine.
 
sammy lewis
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Thank you for all your advice and insight. Planted 5 Apple trees last year, old heirloom varieties. I also have several other fruit trees planted and planning on a few more this year. Hard to do everything I want on a budget so spacing out over several years, cane fruit this year, and some bush fruit as well. Hopefully in two more years I can have everything planted.
 
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