Based on past Colorado Raspberry research I have chosen several promising cultivars. Heritage is a widely grown commercial variety and will be grown in an annual mowing setup as a baseline.
First year – fence approx. .6 acre total (160’x160′). Install ten raised/shaped beds, 4′ wide, 150; long, 12′ on center. Irrigation t-tape 8″ OC low flow, mazzei fertilizer injector; beds covered with 5mil woven landscaping fabric – two 3′ strips stapled down each side of the row. trellis system is t-type as shown below. Plant raspberries at 12″ spacing, (blackberries at 36″ spacing), approximately 100 plants per row (blackberries 30). Two rows will be planted without trellising (on 15′ center) and grown using the mow method for comparison. One of these will be planted with an everbearing type and mowed every year; the other will be planted with a summer fruiting type and mowed at the end of every other year.
Data collection will follow several data points. Each variety’s yield will be recorded by tracking pints collected from each row at each harvest. These points will be charted and this will provide a record of harvest season – start and end – as well as total yield. Fruit size will be tracked by taking regular sample of each type and counting berries per pint. Since labor for harvesting is a big issue in raspberry/blackberry production, we will also track harvest time per row, as well as qualitative details about ease of harvesting.
Outreach will be continuous with a raspberry project website and blog documenting the planting, maintenance and harvest of the experimental patch with regularly posted photographs and records. The second year will be focused on careful data collection during harvest, and recording this information into spreadsheets available from the blog/website. In the third year, data and costs will be tallied and a conclusion added.
We will also document and photograph each variety at various stages of growth and production and analyze qualities such as flavor, size and hardiness. The website built with this data will contain a searchable, categorized index of varieties trialed and each variety will have a page containing detailed results, observations and photographs.