The Q&A Archives: growing fruiting bushes in Minnesota

Question: I live in Saint Paul, Minnesota and I'm already planning for next year's gardening. I plan to build a raised bed against the eastern side of my house where it's rather sheltered, gets 8hrs or more of direct sun and has kind of a mini-climate situation where it gets very hot in the summer(the area is between my house and my neighbor). By a happy accident, I found out veggies grow really, really well in that area, but I would really like to try some kind of fruiting bush/vine to establish a border along the side of the house. I'd like to try raspberries, blueberries, or grapes, but I'm totally in the dark as to what to plant and what is tolerant for my zone. Do I need both male and female plants for pollination? Can raspberries really tolerate full sun? All the books I come across are written for more mild climates and not the extremes we have here. Can I even plant stuff like that here, or should I stick to shrub roses?I'm really in the dark here and could use some direction. Please help!
Sincerely yours,
R.G. Saint Paul, MN

Answer: Raspberries and blackberries should be okay for your area, but these "brambles" can be invasive and some have nasty thorns, so determine if you have room to allow them to spread. Yes, they take full sun. I've tried growing blueberries even farther north than you are, with limited success because of the extreme cold, but they might perform better where you are. I'm going to refer you to U of MN Hennepin County Cooperative Extension. They will have plant lists, including varieties that do well in your specific area. They are at 1525 Glenwood Avenue, Minneapolis, 612-374-8417. They probably have this info on their website also. Good luck!

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