Blackberry / Raspberry Culture?

I am in the process of ordering (from Nourse) several varieties of blackberry and raspberry to establish a small orchard of small fruit - for both myself and selling the excess locally - and I would love to hear from others who have blackberry/raspberry patches.

Also some specific questions: What is your fertilization process? When is the earliest they can produce? Is there any benefit to floricane over primocane varieties?

primocane fruiting will give you fruit by late summer of the 1st year. if you overwinter the canes you will get a 2nd smaller crop the following summer. problem with the 2 crop method , youre constantly trying to manage the canes while pruning out your excess sprouts coming up. what i do is grow both primo and floricane fruiting varieties. this way when your primocane fruiting varieties are done fruiting, in winter, you just mow them to the ground and new shoots come up in spring to fruit in late summer again. no need to prune them out and it keeps disease pressure down. if you keep them in separate rows they can easily be managed. floricanes will give you fruit in early mid summer of the 2nd year. just prune out that years fruiting canes in the fall. for fertilizing i only use old chicken bedding every couple years. if you have decent soil they dont need alot of fertilizer. too much N and youll get alot of huge canes with not much berries. mulching them with at least 4-5in. of woodchips will help conserve moisture. id imagine a application in early spring and as berries start to formof 10-10-10 per amounts recomended on the package will keep them producing well for you. black raspberries are good also and dont spread like rasp and blackberries do and some like niwot and ohio treasure are primocane fruiting. i have royalty purple raspberry which is florocane fruiting, stays in place like b. raspberries and is very productive. its a hybrid of red and blacks with big berries. joan j is a primo fruiting rasp. cultivar with no thorns and short sturdy canes. very good berries. autumn britten is another primo fruiting rasp. with great flavor. the prime ark 45 blackberry is cold hardy enough to do well where your at and comes with high ratings from a grower on here in kansas. its a thorny florocane that very productive. theres many more good selections. im sure others will chime in with their recomendations. welcome Korie and good luck!

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Do you think in a short-season zone (I’m in USDA zone 4), keeping around primocanes, as opposed to mowing after the end of the season, will allow some summer fruit, as opposed to getting some fruit some falls, but not if there is an early frost, say the first or second week in September? It seems to me, my plants are putting out fruit in late summer-early fall, but most of the fruit doesn’t ripen in time before hard frosts.

Another thing, all things equal, does mowing canes and thus treating as a primocane, as opposed to leaving some floricanes, accelerate ripening in fall. I mean, if I have one stand with primocane-fruiting cultivars, and a second stand with the same, and I mow one stand to leave only primocanes, but leave floricanes in the other, will the stand with primocanes only tend to ripen its fruit earlier in fall? Another way to ask this is, does leaving floricanes delay harvest for primocane-fruiting cultivars?

Cultivar list:
aac eden (floricane)
boyne ((floricane)
encore (floricane)
killarney (floricane)
Latham (floricane)
nova (floricane)
prelude (floricane)
souris (floricane)

anne (primocane; personal fav)
caroline (primocane)
joan j (primocane)
polana (primocane)

royalty (floricane)
brandywine (floricane)

prime ark freedom, prime ark traveler (lucky to get one - that’s right, one single fruit! - off of these before season’s end (i.e. killing frost).

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I myself always harvest two crops off primocane fruiting types. I like raspberries too much to cut off wood that will produce berries. I love it and would not do it any other way.
Some primocane cultivars fruit late and you will never get a full crop in the fall. At least in my environment.

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i prefer not to keep the floricane crop because its easier to mow them down instead of trying to manage the canes and new shoots and the floricane crop is half what my primocane crop is. instead im growing floricane fruiting cultivars to fill in the summer production. its your preference how you manage it. all your floricane producing types will work for you but anne and caroline are too late fruiting for z4. ive tried growing pa freedom here and never got fruit and was really hard to get the canes to over winter. i grow nelson from fedco. theyre cold hardy to my z3b and the fruit is good but on the small side but at least they survive without winter injury above the snow line. its the only nursery sold blackberry ive found to survive here besides a small fruiting wild native i found on a hike.

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Thanks for all the responses! We’ll see how it goes. For blackberries I have Triple Crown & PA Traveler (perhaps - can’t tell if still alive) and I have five Joan J’s coming in May. Part of my reason for choosing Joan J is because a reviewer on Nourse stated they go from “spring til frost” - and I definitely would prefer a summer harvest over a fall one. I guess I’ll see how they do, and if next year I need to invest in floricane varieties, I will.

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Yes raspberries are flexible as Steve mentioned. Our environments are different, but if you want early try Prelude and Himbo Top. Both are early in both crops. Prelude is considered floricane fruiting but it does produce a small primocane crop. Not sure why it’s considered summer fruiting? I guess because that crop is much heavier. Himbo Top is primocane. Both crops are early! Primocane crop for both finishes for me in 5b/6a. Himbo is a milder less acidic fruit, not bad. Prelude is acidic and strong. Not great for fresh eating but the best jam or syrup ever. Both are more productive than any other raspberry i grow and I grow or have grown 17 red or yellow raspberry cultivars.