Q & A: Fruit

Got a gardening question? Ask Susan! What follows are reader questions. Each time a new one comes in, I’ll add it to the top. To ask a question, drop me a note at Susan@susansinthegarden.com.

Q: I planted five plants in a 12 foot x 4 foot raised bed last year, ten
inches high.  This year they are growing out of the base ground around
the bed.  Why do they grow down, and move away from the bed and
reemerge in the gravel walk?  Darn plants anyway.  I am cutting them
at  the ground level outside of the bed to control them but I do not
know if that will help. SS, Spokane

A: No worries, this is what raspberry plants like to do! They send up runners here and there occasionally, I guess as a way of propagating their species. I get them, too, and I just pull them up out of the ground, roots and all. However, if you need more raspberry plants, you could gently dig them up and put them into your “official” raspberry bed!

Q: I have a question about blue berries. I live in Breckenridge, KY and have had blueberries for 3 years they just set there and don’t grow. What do I need to do to raise blueberries? My granddaughter loves them. DN, Breckenridge, KY.

A: We’ve grown blueberries successfully for about 25 years now and just love them. There are 3 things that come to mind as potential problems: 1. Are they getting enough sun? The plants need at least 6 hours of sun per day, but even more would be great.
2. Is the soil acidic? Blueberries require soil that has a low pH. You can address this by adding peat moss to the bed each year (be careful not to disturb the plants’ roots as they are very shallow) or by sprinkling sulphur on the bed. 3. Do you have multiple varieties planted together? Blueberries are self-fruitful, meaning they don’t necessarily need a pollinator, but you’ll get better productivity if you have different varieties. There are early, mid- and late-season varieties, so if you need to add any to your existing bed, be sure to choose another variety that produces during the same time of year for it to be an effective pollinator.

Note: For those who live in the Pacific Northwest, here is a link to Blueberry Cultivars for the Pacific Northwest, published by Oregon State University.