Posted: 01/10/2012 at 16:49
Last November I bought 5 canes of autumn fruiting raspberry 'polka' and planted them. I have very heavy clay and am not particularly strong, so as I understood raspberries are shallow rooted I dug a spade's depth, incorporated compost and them dumped more compost on top. I planted them with mycorrhizal (sp?) fungi and hoped for the best. Watering seemed a bit redundant but I diligently fleeced them until the frosts were gone. In spring I bought a bag of rotted manure and mulched them, keeping it away from the stems as best I could, but the cats weren't very helpful with that.
Two shooted. One month later, the leaves on both turned yellow and died. The garden centre replaced them; 3 of the replacement canes already had shoots. One died right away. One struggled for a month and then turned yellow and died. The third made it to June but was only 8 inches high then, and abruptly one week that went yellow and died too. The other two canes never shooted.
Was it the rain? Was it that I didn't prep at enough depth or use grit? Did my soil have a disease, and if it didn't, is it likely that it now does? There is a trellis there to support them (our garden is like a sort of demented circular wind tunnel) so putting them somewhere else would be awkward.
What I do know is that nothing had been grown in that ground for at least three years, except grass and weeds. We live in the vale of York, if you need a climate reference.