Raspberries for Mermaid's Song

on Tuesday, 24 April 2012. Posted in Winery Blog

200 bare root canes

Raspberries have been a concern of mine since I began using them in my Mermaid's Song Honey Wine. I was able to find small quantities of berries from local producers, but it has always been a struggle to maintain a steady supply that was under my control (What! You sold them to someone else?!). And, nobody allowed me to come in and pick my own.

I had planned to get this project done last year but there just was not enough time last spring to make it happen. So this year was a make or break effort to get a sufficiently large patch of berries going to supply my basic need. The variety I chose is called "Caroline", rated excellent for flavor and winter hardiness. It's an everbearing type which means I could theoretically have a crop in late spring on last years canes and then a fall crop on this years new canes. I'm not going to handle them that way though. By letting the canes bear like that, pruning would be a major hastle so I'm going to handle them as fall bearing only. That means I can mow all the canes down in very late fall every year and then all the growth energy will be put into those new canes, yielding a slightly larger fall crop in a single harvest. The rototiller in the photo below can be switched out with a sickle bar mower that will mechanically cut the canes as close to the ground as possible. Those canes will be composted and returned to the soil after a couple of years.

The raspberries are next to the elderberry bushes. I had to till new ground for the raspberries though, and then add soil amendments. Each of the rows is roughly 100 feet long and each row received 250 lbs of dolomitic limestone, 100 lbs of Pro-Gro which is an organic fertilizer from Vermont, and 60 lbs of dehydrated chicken manure that was sourced in Canada by Coast of Maine and is certified for organic growers.

So 200 raspberry bare root plants are in their permanent home and my knees and back are telling me to take a day off. Job well done!

Rototiller

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raspberry-canes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knees

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