Plotting the Perennials: The Berry Beds

Today, after a month or so hiatus from gardening, we broke out all of our graph paper, catalogues, and reference books to begin planning for the 2012 garden: 

We already had four giant (1 square = 6 inches of planting area) graphs drawn out and ready to go from last summer — one graph for each quadrant of the garden. That was pretty overwhelming, so we started with the easiest thing: planning the berry beds that are off to the side. Back in October we built them, filled them with dirt, and added sulfur to acidify the beds that will be for blueberries and cranberries. This is what they look like today, in their finished state:

To the left is the raspberry bed. Down the center of this 22-foot long bed will be 8 plantings of raspberries: three Latham (a red, midsummer raspberry), three Fall Red (an everbearer from UNH that will produce in summer and again throughout the fall), one Allen (a black raspberry), and one Bristol (another black raspberry). We had great luck at the Red House with the raspberries we bought from Miller Nurseries, so we will order from them again. As you can see by the numbers, I'm not all that fond of black raspberries, but Kirk likes the variety, so we decided to order a couple.

To the right is the blueberry bed. It is the same length, but a foot wider to accommodate the larger blueberry bushes. This bed will hold six, and we went with a collection from Miller that includes one Atlantic, one Jersey, one Ivanhoe, one Bluecrop, one Blueray, and one Herbert. These varieties will mature at different times in the season, so we should be able to harvest all summer long. 

Finally, the short beds that run across the back of this photo are for cranberries. Instead of a gigantic high bush cranberry, we chose a very low ground cover type. This will only grow to about a foot high, but will spread like a ground cover to three to four feet in diameter. We'll have four of those in each bed. 

This part of the planning was a piece of cake. We already knew what would go in each bed, so it was just a matter of calculating the spacing and choosing varieties. Flipping through seed and plant catalogues is the fun part!

After getting some planning momentum going with the berry beds, we were ready to move on to some of the more challenging aspects of the quadrants. Next time I'll let you know how we sorted out the other perennial fruits, veggies, and herbs.


  1. Looking forward to seeing your plans. I do very little planning - just buy some seeds and pop them in the ground (I do start tomatoes & peppers indoors). It will be nice to see what a well-thought garden looks like!


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