I decided rather than doing multiple post updates like last year that I can do one post and just update as I go along. I just haven’t been sure when I was ready to start. It probably would have been better to start at the beginning of the summer, but it is probably better to start now rather than waiting any longer.
Briefly, I planted bare root raspberry canes the first week of June 2016. I planted two types, Joan J and Anne. I picked the Joan J because they are thornless and supposed to be very productive. I chose Anne (yellow raspberries) because I thought they were thornless (actually very small thorns) and they generally rank best in taste. I did a pretty detailed job of reporting on their progress through last summer. Now I want to give an update on how they are doing this year.
I check in mid February and last years primocanes, this years floricanes, looked bare. I first noticed some growth on the floricanes around March 4th. There were little green buds growing. I’ll add more detailed captions and more photos as I have time.
March 4, 2017 – Anne Raspberry floricane showing buds sprouting. They survived the winter. This will provide fresh raspberries in the summer around July.
April 4, 2017 – noticing some new primocanes growing too. This is an Anne raspberry plant which will produce raspberries this fall, around September, and as a floricane will produce raspberries around July 2018 if all goes well.
April 4, 2017
April 9, 2017
April 9, 2017
April 13, 2017 – new Anne primocanes, but growing close to my chicken wire fence as opposed to near the center of the row of floricanes. Either way I was happy to see some new Anne raspberry plants growing.
April 13, 2017 – These are the Anne raspberry floricanes. The canes are pretty thin from the first year of growth, but the buds are coming in nice and big.
April 14, 2017
April 14, 2017
April 22, 2017 – you can see the buds growing on the Anne floricanes are getting pretty big. There are also some primocanes growing near the base of the plants.
April 22, 2017 – Anne primocanes coming in, some a few feet from where the floricanes are. I’m debating what to do about the ones growing where there is currently a grassy area.
April 29, 2017 – are these really raspberry buds already showing up? Or maybe they are just leaves.
May 6, 2017 – look how big the stalks are off the floricanes of the Anne raspberry canes. These stalks almost look like entire plants themselves.
May 30, 2017 – These do look like raspberries coming in.
June 11, 2017 – I decided I would try to kill off the grass and weeds growing right under the raspberry plants by using weed cloth. My plan was to remove the weed cloth at the end of the season so that primocanes could grow in next year, hopefully having nice rich soil where the weed cloth was.
June 13, 2017 – I also read that you can use cardboard and/or paper bags to kill the grass and weeds, and it will decompose into the soil naturally.
June 13, 2017 – the plants were actually starting to look a little droopy. It was very hot for several days so I was worried that perhaps the heat combined with the dark material on the ground was causing damage to the plants. After all the effort to put down the weed control cloth, I reversed course and pulled it all up. I also found out that my lawn care guy decided to spray some weedkiller around the same time. I have no idea if there was some drift that affected the raspberries, or if it was just coincidence. Finally, I started to get worried that I was either under watering or over watering. This was also the time that the floricanes were producing raspberries, so I didn’t know if the extra stress on the plants was causing the leaves to look droopy. Fortunately, the plants recovered and none died from whatever the cause.
June 17, 2017 – uh-oh. What is eating my raspberry leaves?
June 17, 2017 – some early raspberries! Small, but edible.
June 22, 2017 – a few more small, early raspberries.
June 24, 2017 – uh-oh. This thing doesn’t look good. Turns out it is a Japanese beetle, and they love raspberries. I’m always amazed at how certain insects manage to find certain plants. My first reaction was to run to the store and buy some insect killer – something called Sevin, which will kill pretty much all insects. Fortunately, I did some more reading and decided against using insect sprays. First, I didn’t want to worry about any chemicals on the raspberries. Second, I didn’t want to kill the beneficial insects needed to pollinate the fruits.
Japanese Beetles – from what I read, it seems the most important thing to control Japanese beetles is to get them removed as soon as you see them. They emit some type of pheromone to attract more Japanese Beetles, and they will attract them from far and wide. I decided to get a small pail, fill it with water and a little bit of dish soap, and as I found the Japanese beetles, I would try to flip them down into the soapy water. This is supposed to kill them before they spread their pheromones. I did this pretty much every day for a few weeks. I probably saw a total of about a dozen over the course of several weeks. I’m hoping that they didn’t settle into the ground below, as the grubs will come next year.
June 29, 2019 – a not quite ripe, but decent sized Anne raspberry growing.
July 1, 2017 – starting to get some bigger sized raspberries. This Joan J is a little bit funny shaped though, but still tasty.
July 1, 2017 – lots of flowers means lots of future raspberries!!!
July 1, 2017 – a nice sized Anne raspberry
July 2, 2017 – oh no!! The birds are attacking my raspberries. I was debating setting up bird netting like I did last year. Last year I thought perhaps the bird netting discouraged bees from pollinating the flowers. This year I’ve had a good number of bees around and I didn’t want to discourage them.
July 2, 2017 – to try to improve the watering of the raspberries, I had read quite a bit about drip irrigation. I wasn’t quite ready to put in the time to set up something ideal, so I just bought a cheap soaker hose. The soaker hose is far from ideal – basically a lot of water comes out the first few feet, and then a more normal amount seems to slowly seep out the rest of the hose. I ultimately settled on watering about every 2-3 days, using the soaker hose for about 90 minutes on a timer.
July 4, 2017 – fortunately I didn’t use the Sevin insect killer and I was seeing occasional good insects, such as this beautiful lady bug.
July 8, 2017 – I’m still seeing some of these ugly guys too though.
July 10, 2017 – interestingly, I’m getting more Anne raspberries than Joan J. The Anne are also bigger in size. People liked the flavor of both the Anne and the Joan J pretty equally. I was so concerned when I bought the plants that the Joan J wouldn’t be tasty, but so far they have been yummy.
I realized that one reason I was getting more Anne raspberries than Joan J is that it seems the birds were only focusing on the red berries and avoiding the yellow Anne berries. I really wasn’t aware how many of the Joan J were getting eaten by birds until a little later in the summer.
July 17, 2017 – Am I really starting to see flower buds forming on the primocanes? It seems to be so!
July 23, 2017
July 23, 2017 – More Anne berries with a few Joan J. Again – birds were leaving the Anne berries while they feasted on the Joan J.