PLANTING BERRIES AND GRAPES
Choosing the right planting location for berries and grapes is of primary importance to your success in growing these plants. They each come with their own special “personalities.” Ignoring these idiosyncrasies is a recipe for disappointment. Berries that flourish when grown in the wild have cultivated cousins that must be nurtured.
BLACKBERRIES AND RASPBERRIES
Bramble fruits such as Blackberries and Raspberries must have a location far away from heavy foot traffic. Planting them near the side of your house or garage will invite trouble. Bramble fruits are overachievers. They will try heartily to propagate and take over the earth, and won’t bother stopping at the edge of your carefully preened flower bed.
Planting them near a sidewalk is never a good idea. They will tunnel under the concrete with their roots and come out the other side. The path to your home will soon be hemmed in by thorny plants that will reach out and “apprehend” you when you are dressed in your Sunday best.
It is important to keep thorny plants in a safe location. I once leaned too close to a rose bush that I was pruning. A skirmish ensued when the dreadful thing got tangled in my hair.
RELATED POST: From my friend Cathy at Original Homesteading: FREEZING RASPBERRIES
Shrubs can act like a snow fence, and cause quite a problem for the homeowner. Blueberries especially (and sometimes Blackberries) can create a very thick hedge, so their planting location must be considered before you start to dig. Be careful so you don’t end up with a snow blocked driveway in the Winter.
The Autumn foliage turns a gorgeous scarlet or burgundy. This leads some people to plant Blueberries around the house as an ornamental. I advise against this since it is an open invitation to wildlife who might seize the opportunity to munch their way through your flower border.
The less obvious the bushes are at ripening time, the better. Anonymity can be hard to achieve with fruit that is so colorful, especially with birds soaring overhead like drones. Bird netting is the only way to deal with these persistent looters.
If the idea of maintaining a big Strawberry patch puts you off, you can still have berries growing in containers, hanging pots, and around shrubs. I’ve seen wild Asparagus growing intermingled with tiny wild Strawberries, and they didn’t seem to mind each other’s company.
Strawberries can double as a ground cover in the flower border around a home and help to disguise the foliage of Spring bulbs as they go dormant. They are useful for filling in the empty spaces between plants. Strawberries grown in hanging pots have a better chance of surviving to harvest time. Birds have a hard time getting at the fruit that dangles over the sides of the pot.
The Strawberries that grow just outside my kitchen door are spreading vigorously amid the perennials and flowering bulbs. My decision to plant them there might have been unwise since visitors and delivery men spot them immediately. Many times I have answered the door to find them happily munching away on the irresistible and fragrant fruit. Fortunately, these berries produce multitudes of runners that I intend to transplant to a more concealed location.
Find a suitable location for the Grape Vine first. Then order your plant. This is an important decision. Don’t wait till the vine has already been delivered to your home. Choose the planting location as carefully as you select your variety.
Grapes should be planted at least 8 feet apart, always keeping in mind that the largest part of the plant is underground. Most of the roots are in the first 5 feet of soil, but they can grow as deep as 40 feet depending on the soil type. Many trees don’t grow that deep!
Grape vines must have a structure to support them. A wild Grape Vine will always try to find a handy substitute for a trellis. Wild Grapes twine around my property line fence posts, travel up the mailbox pole, and wind and wander their way through the honeysuckle and multiflora rose bushes that grow wild along the road.
These plants are very easygoing and tend to make themselves right at home in the most inconvenient places. They can grow all the way up the drain pipe at the corner of your house and are heavy enough to dislodge the eve spout.
Taking the time to decide on a suitable planting location before you fill out your garden order will benefit you in the long run. Measure carefully to be sure you have ample room for them to spread out. Digging up a berry bush or Grape and transplanting it is a lot like moving furniture.
HAPPY PLANTING! Susan