Caroline Red Raspberry

In some of my other posts – I mentioned how I would do some things differently now that I’ve had some experience/failures in gardening. In my excitement with how well all the other fruit is doing – I decided to try planting some raspberries. Some of the favorite fruit for my kids are blackberries and raspberries. I already have blackberry plants so… lets try it. Didn’t work out so well. Time line photos below and what I’d do differently at the end.

May 3rd, 2020
Here’s the other fence line before I remove the grass and make the slightly raised row and plant them. It will be roughly 21 feet long and around 20 inches wide. I’ll be planting 7 bare root Caroline Red Raspberry plants with the canes spaced 3 feet apart.

Caroline Red Raspberry Patch before on May 3rd 2020
Caroline Red Raspberry Patch before on May 3rd 2020

June 7th, 2020
Received my bare root plants from Pense Nursery and put them in the row. I ordered a total of 9. I put 7 in this row and the other two in large pots just to experiment. Each arrived as just bare roots and a large cane with no green and I planted them 3 feet apart. Below is raspberry plant number 6 and 7 from left to right.

Caroline Red Raspberry plant 6 and 7 on June 7th 2020
Caroline Red Raspberry plant 6 and 7 on June 7th 2020

June 26th, 2020
19 days later and I have some new green growth on 5 of my 7 raspberry plants in the ground. My two in pots have no green still. All of the green growth are new small shoots coming from the sides of the cane. Below is raspberry plant number 6 and 7 from left to right – same two plants from above photo.

Caroline Red Raspberry plant 6 and 7 with green leaves 6-26-20
Caroline Red Raspberry plant 6 and 7 with green leaves 6-26-20

July 10th, 2020
Over the past 2 weeks all 7 of the plants in the garden row seemed to do well with new growth. Each of the plants have green leaves with some having many leaves and new growth on the sides of the cane but that didn’t last…
Some of them had leaves that started to curl. Others had leaves that got brownish on the edges and in different parts of the leaves.

July 22th, 2020
All 7 of my plants in the raspberry row now have leaves like picture 1 or worse – a few look like picture 2 – wilted and dead looking…

Raspberry leaves brown and curling 7-22-20
Raspberry leaves brown and curling 7-22-20
Raspberry wilting 7-22-20
Raspberry wilting 7-22-20

August 1st, 2020
Some research says that some disease is attacking them. Others say it is extreme heat stress and the fact that I planted them at the wrong time for my area. Planting raspberries in the heat of summer is not the best idea. We had some unseasonably cool weather in my area of Texas for a week or two when I planted them and a lot of cloud cover after that. I think that gave them a good start but the heat then just clobbered them. The only good to come out of this was that I found out you can contact your county extension agent and ask them for help. I emailed them a picture of my raspberries and to my surprise a Horticulturist replied telling me that it was most likely heat stress. Then told me that they have a hard time growing in my area but I could try using a shade cloth during the heat of summer next time. You learn as things happen to you and here’s what I learned and what I’d do differently. Hopefully this helps you if your reading this far.

Things I should have done or done differently for raspberries in Zone 8B:
1. Plant raspberries at the right time! Very early spring or or late fall but in the middle of the heat of summer like I did – no. Lesson learned. I was just excited to try growing some raspberries for my family even if it was the wrong time!
2. Spray plants with organic pest control. I plan to use Neem oil and also insecticidal soap at other times.
3. Put up a shade cloth in my case to help with the heat stress in summer. I joined some fruit and gardening forums and found some people had success with using shade cloths or other ways to protect from the summer heat. Or I could have found an area in my yard that didn’t get so much afternoon sun. When I read up about growing raspberries it said full sun. Then I find out later from others that in a hot place like Texas they need some afternoon shade or you need to provide it for them especially as new transplants. I’m hopeful that maybe they still survive and next spring they will start putting up new shoots.

Grow Watermelon Vertically in a Small Space

My first attempt at growing food in my backyard. I started with cantaloupes and watermelons and that did very well. I began modestly with just a small section for a few watermelon plants and another small section for a few cantaloupe plants. I enjoyed it so much that I then got really into it and ended up using 4 cattle panels to build an arch trellis for each section to grow my food vertically. The main reason for this was to minimize space used so my kids could still play in the main middle part of the backyard but also grow as much as possible!

Video 1 – is the my whole process from the start of April 1st to July 29th, 2020.

Video 2 – the process I used to build a cattle panel trellis to grow watermelons vertically. I have two slightly raised beds built from cedar pickets that are each roughly 8 feet x 10 feet in size. They both have 8 metal U posts and two 16 feet cattle panels. In this video I may refer to it as my cantaloupe trellis but I used the exact same process for my watermelons just next to it.

Grow Blackberries

My first attempt at growing food in my backyard. I started with watermelons and cantaloupes and that did very well. I began modestly with just a small section for a few watermelon plants and another small section for a few cantaloupe plants. I enjoyed it so much that I then got really into it and ended up using 4 cattle panels to build an arch trellis for each section to grow my food vertically. The main reason for this was to minimize space used so my kids could still play in the main middle part of the backyard but also grow as much as possible! Next – blackberries! As I wrote earlier, this was my very first time gardening and growing food and there are so many things I’ve learned along the way. I would do several things different if I could go back and I’ll most likely talk about those along the way. Now for the blackberries…

Just like with the watermelon and cantaloupes – I started modest because I really wasn’t sure how it was all going to go. What started as 4 small plants ended up being 14 blackberry plants both Natchez and Prime Ark Freedom.

April 16th, 2020
Here’s my start – put in a border down the fence line and added a mixture of garden bed soil, top soil and organic compost.

Blackberry Raised Bed
Blackberry Raised Bed

April 24th, 2020
Natchez blackberry plants arrived!

Natchez Blackberry plants sealed
Natchez Blackberry plants sealed
Natchez Blackberry plants ready to be planted
Natchez Blackberry plants ready to be planted

In the ground – rounded out the soil making them up on a hill in a row!

Natchez blackberry plants in the raised row
Natchez blackberry plants in the raised row

April 28th, 2020
Wind damage – it has been very windy down the fence line and my small blackberry plants are being roughed up by the wind. Time to build a small temporary support trellis to keep them upright as they get established.

Support string trellis for my blackberry plants

May 4th, 2020
Transplant shock? The blackberry plants might be experiencing some transplant shock. These pictures don’t show it very well because this was the day before and the edges got even darker. Purplish color around the edges of several leaves. Thankfully they made it thru and the leaves are all green again.

Blackberry Transplant Shock
Blackberry Transplant Shock

June 21st, 2020
Good growth and stronger stalks. Picture below is of plants 1, 2 and 3 from left to right. Plant number 2 is the largest of all 4.

Natchez Blackberry plants 1-3 on June 21st, 2020
Natchez Blackberry plants 1-3 on June 21st, 2020
Natchez Blackberry plant 2 on June 21st, 2020
Natchez Blackberry plant 2 on June 21st, 2020

July 18th, 2020
Doubling in size or more. It seemed like a bit of shaky start but now they are really taking off!

Natchez Blackberry plants 1 and 2 on July 18th, 2020
Natchez Blackberry plants 1 and 2 on July 18th, 2020
Natchez Blackberry plants 3 and 4 on July 18th, 2020
Natchez Blackberry plants 3 and 4 on July 18th, 2020

August 1st, 2020
Getting taller!

Natchez Blackberry plants 1 and 2 on Aug 1st, 2020
Natchez Blackberry plants 1 and 2 on Aug 1st, 2020
Natchez Blackberry plants 3 and 4 on Aug 1st, 2020
Natchez Blackberry plants 3 and 4 on Aug 1st, 2020

August 24th, 2020
Time to build a simple I Trellis with T-posts for my blackberry plants.

Build a simple I Trellis with T-Posts for my blackberry plants

September 1st, 2020
New I-Trellis with T-posts as they are growing fast and starting to fall over.

Natchez Blackberry plants 1 and 2 on Sept 1st, 2020
Natchez Blackberry plants 1 and 2 on Sept 1st, 2020
Natchez Blackberry plants 3 and 4 on Sept 1st, 2020
Natchez Blackberry plants 3 and 4 on Sept 1st, 2020

Natchez Blackberry Measurements:
July 1st, 2020
Plant 1: 17 inches
Plant 2: 30.5 inches
Plant 3: 25 inches
Plant 4: 18 inches

September 1st, 2020
Plant 1: 33 inches
Plant 2: 48 inches
Plant 3: 42 inches
Plant 4: 47 inches

Good growth considering all were about 4-6 inch plugs when I first planted them back on April 24th, 2020.

September 26th, 2020
Tip Layering Blackberry Plants – All of my plants are tall and easily tip over to the ground so today I will try tip layering for the first time. Here’s my video:

October 1st, 2020
Two plants over 6 feet tall and the other two around 5 feet tall.

Natchez Blackberry plants 1 and 2 on Oct 1st, 2020
Natchez Blackberry plants 1 and 2 on Oct 1st, 2020
Natchez Blackberry plants 3 and 4 on Oct 1st, 2020
Natchez Blackberry plants 3 and 4 on Oct 1st, 2020

October 17th, 2020
Blackberry Tip Layering update – 21 days later!