The Q&A Archives: Berry Culture

Question: I am ordering strawberries, Arapaho blackberries and blueberries; I have several raised beds, and am wondering if there is a problem planting these three near each other? I have heard that blackberries and raspberries should not be planted close together.

Answer: Blackberries and raspberries have similiar cultural needs, but they should each have a bed of their own because they are vigorous growers and sucker readily. The plants can grow for many years, so prepare the soil well. Incorporate lots of organic matter before planting your brambles, to help retain moisture and give the roots ample room to explore. Blueberries require an acid soil, so amend the plot with peat moss to lower the pH of the soil prior to planting. Mulching with peat will help keep weeds down and keep the pH in check. Strawberries deserve a bed of their own, as well. Set the plants about 6" inches apart so there will be room for the runners to root. As runners emerge you can anchor them to the soil so they'll develop roots and grow into new plants. Strawberry plants are productive for only 2-3 years, at which time the oldest plants should be removed from the bed to allow the newer plants room to grow, produce fruit and develop runners.

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