My first attempt at growing food in my backyard. I started with cantaloupes and watermelons and that did very well. I began modestly with just a small section for a few watermelon plants and another small section for a few cantaloupe plants. I enjoyed it so much that I then got really into it and ended up using 4 cattle panels to build an arch trellis for each section to grow my food vertically. The main reason for this was to minimize space used so my kids could still play in the main middle part of the backyard but also grow as much as possible!
Video 1 – is the my whole process from the start of April 1st to June 26th, 2020.
Video 2 – the process I used to build a cattle panel trellis to grow watermelons vertically. I have two slightly raised beds built from cedar pickets that are each roughly 8 feet x 10 feet in size. They both have 8 metal U posts and two 16 feet cattle panels. In this video I may refer to it as my cantaloupe trellis but I used the exact same process for my watermelons just next to it.
In some of my other posts – I mentioned how I would do some things differently now that I’ve had some experience/failures in gardening. In my excitement with how well all the other fruit is doing – I decided to try planting some raspberries. Some of the favorite fruit for my kids are blackberries and raspberries. I already have blackberry plants so… lets try it. Didn’t work out so well. Time line photos below and what I’d do differently at the end.
May 3rd, 2020 Here’s the other fence line before I remove the grass and make the slightly raised row and plant them. It will be roughly 21 feet long and around 20 inches wide. I’ll be planting 7 bare root Caroline Red Raspberry plants with the canes spaced 3 feet apart.
June 7th, 2020 Received my bare root plants from Pense Nursery and put them in the row. I ordered a total of 9. I put 7 in this row and the other two in large pots just to experiment. Each arrived as just bare roots and a large cane with no green and I planted them 3 feet apart. Below is raspberry plant number 6 and 7 from left to right.
June 26th, 2020 19 days later and I have some new green growth on 5 of my 7 raspberry plants in the ground. My two in pots have no green still. All of the green growth are new small shoots coming from the sides of the cane. Below is raspberry plant number 6 and 7 from left to right – same two plants from above photo.
July 10th, 2020 Over the past 2 weeks all 7 of the plants in the garden row seemed to do well with new growth. Each of the plants have green leaves with some having many leaves and new growth on the sides of the cane but that didn’t last… Some of them had leaves that started to curl. Others had leaves that got brownish on the edges and in different parts of the leaves.
July 22th, 2020 All 7 of my plants in the raspberry row now have leaves like picture 1 or worse – a few look like picture 2 – wilted and dead looking…
August 1st, 2020 Some research says that some disease is attacking them. Others say it is extreme heat stress and the fact that I planted them at the wrong time for my area. Planting raspberries in the heat of summer is not the best idea. We had some unseasonably cool weather in my area of Texas for a week or two when I planted them and a lot of cloud cover after that. I think that gave them a good start but the heat then just clobbered them. You learn as things happen to you and here’s what I learned and what I’d do differently. Hopefully this helps you if your reading this far.
Things I should have done or done differently for raspberries in Zone 8: 1. Plant raspberries at the right time – duh! Very early spring or or late fall but in the middle of the heat of summer – no. 2. Spray plants with organic pest control. I plan to use Neem oil and also insecticidal soap at other times. 3. Put up a shade cloth in my case to help with the heat stress in summer. I joined some fruit and gardening forums and found some people had success with using shade cloths or other ways to protect from the summer heat. Or I could have found an area in my yard that didn’t get so much afternoon sun. When I read up about growing raspberries it said full sun. Then I find out later from others that in a hot place like Texas they need some afternoon shade or you need to provide it for them especially as new transplants. I’m hopeful that maybe they still survive and next spring they will start putting up new shoots.