Container size & shape for raspberries

Oscarmatic(CA z10/23)November 22, 2013

Hi! I'm grateful for the fantastic advice and information from the generous gardeners on this forum. Thanks so much for the information I've already gathered from the forum archives. Next week, I'm planning to mix up my first batch of 5:1:1 mix and (after the lime finishes reacting) buy and pot my first bababerries to go on the patio.

I'm planting in containers in part because of the potential invasiveness of the berries and in part because this house is a rental and I will likely want to take the berries with me if I move. This is in San Diego, Sunset zone 24.

Because of the effort involved in making the 5:1:1 mix, I would like to use the minimum needed for the berries to thrive, and enough to give me at least two years before repotting. I've attached a sketch of where the raspberry container will be placed. I hope to build a decorative rectangular container the width of the space (4.5 to 5 feet). So the question on container size is really one of depth and height. Is a 5'x1'x1' container reasonable? Or 5'x1'x2'?

Perhaps a better way of asking the question is: How many bababerry plants can thrive in 10 cu ft of 5:1:1 mix in a rectangular 5'x1'x2' container?

And while I'm planning the container, will raspberries grow better in round vs square containers? Does container shape affect their growth?


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Not a direct answer to your question but something to consider.....

I'd look into a new, dwarf raspberry, BrazelBerries 'Raspberry Shortcake'. Rather than the space and trellising needed for a typical raspberry vine, this is a very productive, self-fruitful berry that is intended for container culture. The berries are very tasty! I purchased one this spring and have decided to expand my collection in the coming season. This is an ideal plant for those renting or on the move or with minimal inground planting space.

The 5-1-1 mix will work fine for either the planter above or the container (s). And fwiw, standard raspberry canes should be planted 2-3' apart, so planting these in your wooden planter would limit that to two plants (3 if you squeeze :-))

Here is a link that might be useful: Raspberry Shortcake

    Bookmark   November 24, 2013 at 3:50PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Gardengal summed it up well. Raspberries sucker, so I would only use 2 plants. They will totally fill that space after the first summer. You will be removing canes like crazy. Putting three in there makes no sense. I would try and put more erect types that need little of no trellising like Heritage. Also easy on the lime! Raspberries love acidic soil! A 5-1-1 mix has a PH of about 5.0 before lime. That's fine! Desired! They will grow in basic soil, but with hand watering using tap water, you are making the soil basic, so you want to start at the extreme end of acidic. I myself only use rainwater, or acid treated tap water.One foot wide is OK, 2 feet is OK too, but not any wider, and 2 feet wide might be too much, the plants will be too dense, and attract disease. 15 to 18 inches is ideal. They are in a somewhat confined space, so little air movement. Which is not good.
The canes will totally fill that space, when dormant thin to 6 inches apart, remove the small and underdeveloped ones first.
You can prune fall bearers for one or two crops. You're in a very hot area and raspberries are hard to grow there. You may want a variety that does well in the heat, most do not! Most will grow great in zone 4. You're 10, you have a problem there. Blackberries may be a better choice.
I myself do not know of any cultivars that will grow in zone 10. Most are rated to zone 9 at best.
Brazos blackberry is very heat tolerant. Developed in TX, it should grow well in your area.

A 1 foot depth is a little shallow for either. Make it deeper if you can. Raspberries will probably toerate it, not sure about blackberries? Probably will too.

This post was edited by Drew51 on Wed, Nov 27, 13 at 9:12

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 8:58AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

The Mysore black raspberry originates in the Himalayas. It was brought here to Florida in the 40's. It dies at temps below 20 degrees F. It's looks decent! Need a trellis. Mysore can be bought at Real Flora online store. Good luck though getting anybody to ship to CA. Oh I see Berriesplus has it too, seem to be related companies? They do ship to CA. It seems it can take the heat, but actually likes shade. Heavy production with partial shade. Light production with full sun. I have Allen and Jewell black raspberries. I like them. They make great jam. Cool to mix with other fruits in jams like kiwi, blueberry, mulberry etc. Pure black raspberry jam is excellent though. I also like the golden jam from fall gold yellow raspberry. it's the best!

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 2:40PM
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Oscarmatic(CA z10/23)

Thanks for the helpful information. Based on these recommendations and some other planning here, I'm rethinking where to put the baba raspberries. I liked these 12 ý" x 23 ý" round galvanized pots from IKEA:

I hope using the moveable pots will allow me to fine-tune the raspberries' location in the patio for the best growing and fruiting.

I have the ingredients for my mix and my berries. Now to buy the pots and assemble!

    Bookmark   November 29, 2013 at 1:01AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

I didn't realize Baba was a cultivar. That's a good choice! Good luck!
In that container, i would just take a fall crop, and cut them to the ground. I actually liked your other container except for depth. But this round one will be easy to move.
My raspberries are in raised beds 1 foot tall, but they can grow deeper, no barrier underneath, and the local soil is clay loam, it's actually really good soil. I used the rasied beds to contain them. I'm moving too, but not for 5 years. I'll just take suckers to my new house.

This post was edited by Drew51 on Fri, Nov 29, 13 at 10:52

    Bookmark   November 29, 2013 at 9:21AM
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Oscarmatic(CA z10/23)

Great-looking beds, Drew! I'm still putting my original space to good use; the tomatoes and other annual veg will go there. I removed the pavers to uncover a pretty good-looking soil, so I'll use open-bottom raised beds with less-expensive (free) city compost and bark mix of some kind. It's been too busy this holiday weekend to spend time in the garden, so I've got a garage full of Napa 8822, bark nuggets, and perlite -- just waiting for a bit of spare time.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2013 at 7:08PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

I have a bed for veggies too, and grow tomatoes and peppers in pots. But it's not gardening season here, so nothing to do. I have to wait till March then I get to prune my fruit trees, and add compost to the beds etc. I can't wait!
In the photo the front 4x4 beds (3 altogether)have a blueberry plant in the middle and strawberries growing around the outer edges. The back long bed (2x24ft) is all raspberries. I have a 2nd raspberry patch in ground also, it's about 18 feet. Also in the photo I added small 1x4ft beds between the 4x4ft beds to add flowers to attract beneficial insects. Just added, so no flowers yet.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 5:27PM
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Oscarmatic(CA z10/23)

An update on the berries... Planted! :-)

I used a 5-1-1 potting mix, a #5 black plastic planting pot inside the galvanized cache pot, and Styrofoam risers under the #5 pot. I'm pleased with how it looks so far. I really appreciate you sharing your experiences and suggestions.

We'll see how the pot size and shape does with the raspberries when they're in full growth. I'll share more pictures as the canes fill in.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 2:37AM
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