How To Celebrate Earth Day ! Plant Raspberry Roots By The Full Moon
Space Your Plant Roots According To Directions
Move The Mulch Away
I put the plant boxes aside and used a fork to move the mulch away from the ground. I saw a lot of big night crawlers and fat earth worms when I got to soil level. This was a good sign. I remember when I could not find a worm anywhere in this garden plot. It makes me happy to know that I have gotten this land in such good shape and used what MOTHER EARTH had offered up for the taking. The soil is still wet and it was full of air from the worms doing their work. That makes my job of planting so much easier. I did not really dig. I just stuck the fork in the dirt and pryed a hole for each set of root stock.
Not Much Involved To Finish Planting
The Raspberry roots are packed in a mixture that has a high content of peat moss. This is to keep them moist inside the plastic bags they are shipped in. I tore the bags off and carefully placed the roots in the ground. The most important thing here is to spread the roots out just a little and DO NOT plant them too deep. Use the dirt line on the stalk as a mark. Plant them as they were packaged, even with the ground. I also like to heap a lot of mulch back around the freshly planted roots. This will help keep the plantings upright until the roots get a chance to take hold.
Read the packaging on store bought plants, or directions that come on tagged plants before you do anything. The packaging on my roots said that the plants needed to be spaced 3' apart. It also said that the soil should drain good. The other thing was to add some compost to the soil if needed to improve the acidity. The location I picked for my raspberries should be a very good spot.
I will add a little fertilizer in a few weeks. The packaging said to fertilize in a week but I feel that this soil is very rich and I want the roots to reach out in search of food so I will wait a little longer. The fertilizer I do use will be one that encourages root growth. I like to use a root stimulator on newer roots to help give them a jump start. This time of year in this area roots on everything are growing rapidly so it will not take a lot of work.
I probably will not have to worry with watering either. Not this month as we are getting plenty of rain right now. Some climates are not as wet as here and might require weekly watering in the spring. When I lived in the south I had to water every plant I put in the ground, even in the early spring. I used a soil conditioner also to help the dirt retain water. That is no concern up here. More importantly it is necessary to make sure there is adequate drainage.
Plant The Rootings Upright and Straight
Be careful to set the roots in at the right level and also make sure that the plants are very straight. I like to do this after I put some of the dirt on the roots but before I pack them in tight. This time of year we get more rain and the soil can move from around the root ball. It is good to make sure the plants are positioned as best as possible. The addition of a collar of mulch around the finished plantings will help hold them in place. It will also help keep dirt off of the leaves during heavy rain.
More About Mulch
Bob Ewing has a very good hub that pretty much explains how I think about mulch. This is a must read for those of you who do not compost and mulch. His ideas on the subject are much the same as mine.
Mulching is so beneficial that when I landscaped for a living I would not do a job unless the customer agreed to include mulch in the finished work. I would guarantee mulched work. The hot sun on early spring days can back the soil causing it to dry and crack in just a few hours. The rain can beat a plant down into the mud and drown it. The cold nights can damage fragile new growth. Mulch is essential to low maintenance gardening. I will not bother to plant without some kind of mulch. Organic is the best, and home compost is the ultimate from cost to finish.
The more the better up to 6 or 8 inches. I never seem to have enough and the times when it does seem like we have too much is when the grass is being cut a lot because it is growing so fast. This is when I start putting the clippings in the walkways of the garden. It keeps the soil even with moisture and keeps the weeds down to just a few. Mulch when you can as much as you can.
Update For NW Indiana and S. Chicago Gardening
It didn't take long to pry the earth open with a fork and pat the root balls into place. I wanted to get something going to celebrate Earth Day. Putting the raspberry roots in the ground was the best I could come up with. It was not a tree but I know the plants will help the earth. They will also provide food for my family and many of the birds and probably a few rodents too.
This is the best condition my garden soil has been in since we moved here. It was a mess to start with but now the earth is rich and fluffy. I am sure that the addition of three years of grass clippings and mulched leaves has made all of the difference. We are at the point where a continued practice of composting is all that it will take to hold things in this great state. First thing I did was set the plants on top of the ground to get an approximate idea of how they would be planted.