Garden Centres and Planting Raspberries

One of my boys loves plants (except for Hibiscus, apparently). He has just now finished University, and has worked part-time during his University careers at a large supermarket. He has worked throughout this pandemic – as groceries are an essential service, but has not particularly enjoyed the increased tension. He had been waiting in hope for the store’s garden centre to open. It is now open, with plexiglass barriers, and a requirement for no more than 20 people in the “pop-up” garden centre’s store at a time. He LOVES working in the garden centre.

He finds that most customers are just happy to be there as well, and happy customers make him happy. He also enjoys looking after the plants. The store has JUST opened, so it is not fully stocked – new items arrive everyday. It seems like everyday I get a text at around lunch-time – “Do you want a strawberry plant?”, “Do you want some raspberry plants?” I said no to the strawberries and yes please to the raspberries, but received both!

Photo by Felix Brendler on

I’m a bit confused, as garden centres and home improvement stores are closed to the public and open for curbside pickup only in Ontario. However grocery stores are open as essential services and so are able to open garden centres? I am thinking that since Ontario gardeners usually go crazy with buying and planting on Victoria Day weekend (our frost-free garden free-for-all day), perhaps the other garden centres will be allowed to open by then. It seems to me that social distancing store security will be required!

Photo by Alexander Daoud on

I am planting my 2 little raspberries today – along my fence line. I’m trying to keep their prickly stems out of everyone’s way – I have already planted prickly roses next to my raised garden beds – so I think I may have made a mistake that I will regret later!

Raspberries are self-fertile, so only one plant is needed to produce fruit. I have 2, but more would be wonderful – I am just working with a tight space and there are lots of plants that I would like to have! There are varieties that fruit in the summer (June-July) long – these fruit on last year’s branches. There are also fall fruiting varieties which fruit only on new growth. My plants are “Boyne” raspberries, which is a Canadian plant – so winter hardy to -40degreesF (That should do it!!), and summer fruiting. I don’t believe I’ll get fruit (or much) fruit this year, as there is no growth from last year, (the wood has been cut right back), but I look forward to seeing how they’ll do.

Raspberries love to grow against a wire fence. In my previous rural yard, wild raspberries grew along our wire post and beam fence (hidden behind the lilacs, roses and cedars) with no maintenance – their prickly stems fortunately keeping my crazy neighbour out. (Raspberries are good for social distancing).

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Raspberries hiding behind lilacs, cedars and Explorer roses along a long wire fence

These raspberries will grow to 3-4 feet in height, and although the plant label says to plant them 18″ apart, I will space them 3 feet apart. They enjoy full or partial sun, and a little shelter – so against the fence works well. I know they will get full sun for part of the day, and then some shade in the afternoon – but that’s the best I can do for them. If there is too much shade the plants will be fine, but they will produce less fruit. They will have good drainage and a little fertilizing now and then. Apparently, they like the soil a little bit acidic, shouldn’t be sitting in water or clay/chalky soil. I don’t look forward to their prickly branches grabbing me, so this is why I have planted them a little out of the way next to my wooden fence. but I look forward to picking their fruit next year. I probably need a few more plants to make raspberry jam though – maybe I’ll put them in a Rumtopf with some other fruits as the harvest continues.

Photo by Pixabay on

I think it’s time for me to find my Rumtopf pot and get my recipes ready! Happy gardening. I hope to post recipes for Rumtopf, Raspberry Cordial and Raspberry Jam soon.

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