How to Grow Raspberries in the Pacific Northwest

How to Grow Raspberries in the Pacific Northwest

Drake’s 7 Dees Portland Nursery and Garden Center specializes in creating beautiful, enriching outdoor spaces all throughout the Pacific Northwest. If you are interested in growing delicious raspberries in your home or garden area, we encourage you to reach out to us! In today’s post, we will be teaching you all about how to grow raspberries if you live in the Pacific Northwest. Don’t forget to visit our garden center in Portland.

Choosing a Site for Growing Raspberries

Raspberries produce best in full sun, but can tolerate partial shade. Raspberries grow best on a raised bed 8-10” high and 18-36” wide. We suggest working Gypsum into the raised beds. This will help prevent root rot. The pH should be between 5.5 and 7.5. If your pH is below 5.5 add lime.

Planting Raspberries

Dig a shallow hole large enough to accommodate the roots. Prune off any damaged root parts. Spread the root mass and set the plant in the ground. Raspberries should be one inch deeper than the plant grew in the nursery. Cover the roots and press firmly on the soil to remove air pockets. Fertilizing should be done 4-6 weeks later. Space plants 2-3ft apart in a row. It is wise to trellis all raspberries. A simple trellis system 6’ tall of wire supports strung between posts is preferred. Our Portland Nursery and Garden Center can get you set up with everything you need for growing raspberries no matter the space! 

Pruning Raspberries

Pruning should be done in the early spring. First look for canes with no buds or no new growth. These canes were the ones that produced fruit last year and should be pruned away. This will allow better air circulation and higher quality berries.

Harvesting Raspberries

Berries should be harvested every 3 to 6 days depending on weather and cultivation. When ripe the berries come right off the vine. To extend the shelf life, pick berries when they are dry and refrigerate as soon as possible.

Growing Grapes in the Pacific Northwest

Growing Grapes in the Pacific Northwest

Choosing a Site:

Grape vines require 2-3 years to produce a first harvest crop. They generally don’t reach full production until the fifth or sixth year. The first step to acquire the perfect grape is to choose a location that gets full sun. If possible choose a sloping site to help avoid spring frost damage. Even though grapes can grow in any type of soil, well drained soil is essential.



Young grape vines can not compete with weeds or established lawn grass for water and nutrients. It is important to select a site that is free of any competition. Compost should be tilled into the entire planning bed, not just the hole before planting begins.




Grapes are generally planted in rows and trained on a trellis. The spacing between the rows should be about nine feet. The individual plants should be planted seven to eight feet apart in the rows.



Grapes should be planted in the early spring if possible. Before planting, prune the grape cane back to only two buds. Set the plant in a hole large enough to spread the roots out without bending them. The depth should be the same depth as they were planting in the nursery pot you bought the grapes in.



Grapes do not require a high level of fertility, but adding a slow release fertilizer to the soil each spring would assist in the growth and health of the plant.




The most important part of growing grapes is the harvesting of the fruit. This can be tricky because unlike other fruits, grape color is not a good indication of maturity. In table and wine grapes, ripeness is determined by seed color. The grape is mature when the grape seed turns from a green color to brown. Maturities of seedless table grapes are simply determined by taste.




Good Blueberry Choices for the Pacific Northwest

Good Blueberry Choices for the Pacific Northwest

Did you know that blueberries are related to Azaleas and Rhododendrons? No wonder then, that they grow as well as they do here in the Pacific Northwest. There are three categories of blueberries; Highbush, Lowbush, and a hybrid of the two – the so called Half-highs. For garden variety purposes, most of the breeding efforts have gone into the Highbush variety, but there are several excellent Lowbush varieties on the market too. They are particularly interesting to those of us living in small urban lots, as they are far easier to fit in.

When you do decide to grow blueberries, there are a few things to consider. First, you have to have at least two. It doesn’t matter what variety they are – they are not at all picky in that regard. Be sure to plant them in relatively close proximity to each other for best pollination. This will also help our bees. You see, there is a economic logic to their foraging – a concept called “flower constancy”. This means that they prefer the same kind of flowers planted in drifts so that they don’t have to expel energy flying all over the place to pollinate. Pretty cool, huh?

Blueberries are, however, picky with the soil. Like their floriferous cousins, they like their soil on the acidic side, which is usually what we can offer them here in our area. They also like well-drained soil, but for their roots to be moist. Cotton seed meal is a good fertilizer for blueberries.  If you can provide them all that, you are most assuredly in for a treat!

Lastly, not all blueberry bushes are created equal. I’m listing a few that do well in our climate down below. Since different varieties set berries at different times, you can plan it so that you can have berries from late June through August.

Bluetta – a 3’ – 5’ upright compact and cold resistant sort that sets berries very early.

Bluegold – a 3’ – 5’ high mid-season high-yield producer with pretty, golden fall color and yellow winter wood.

Brunswick – a US native, coldhardy lowbush which tolerates sandy soils and part shade. It only grows 12”-18” tall and produces berries in mid-season. Red fall foliage, but best of all – fantastic red wood with yellow flowers in spring  – just when you need a shot of color the most!

 Jelly bean – a miniature shrub (1’ – 2’) perfect for a pot on a patio, or a low hedge along a path. Berries in mid-season, and pretty red-edged leaves turning a fabulous red fall color.

Sunshine Blue – a highbush variety perfect for the PNW. Berries in mid-late summer.

Top Hat – a 2’ tall lowbush which produces in mid-season. Because of its well-behaved spherical growth habit, it makes a great landscape plant.

Best of all – we carry them all here at the Garden Center! Come get your favorites!

Caring for the Asian Pear Tree

Caring for the Asian Pear Tree

Choosing a site:

Asian pears bloom very early and are susceptible to late spring frost damage. If late spring frosts happen in your area, plant your trees where cold air will run downhill away from them.

Asian pears thrive in soils that have only average amounts of fertility, water, and drainage. They also require great air circulation.

Healthy trees will grow about two feet a year for the first three years. With fruit production the desired growth is one foot a year. If your trees are not growing this fast, it would be wise to have your soil tested for fertility. By applying a balanced fertilizer (10-10-10) in the later winter or early spring, before the buds emerge, you may have better growth.


To ensure pollination, make sure to plant cultivars of Asian or European Pears whose bloom periods overlap. By planting trees 8ft.-15ft. apart, cross pollination will be more likely to happen. When trees are cross pollinated, the Asian pears tend to over bear and produce small fruit. This is best solved by thinning. No more than one fruit should be allowed to develop per fruit cluster. Pull the fruit clusters off in the early spring when they are small, keeping one fruit on each cluster and spacing clusters 4-6” apart.


Here are some basic rules to achieve success:

First create an open center. Remove the tip from the central trunk to promote side branching. Then prune away all but three or four of the major limbs growing from the central trunk to provide evenly spaced branches strong enough to hold the ripening fruit. Remove any weak shoots that arise from the base and limbs of the tree. The removal of these weak shoots will help against diseases and insects. Pruning of young trees will delay the fruiting, so it’s best to prune your tree after the third year of harvest.

Bud Worms: Everything You Need to Know About Them

Bud Worms: Everything You Need to Know About Them

Bud worms can be a real problem. If your petunias and geraniums are budding but they won’t bloom. Why is that? The answer could be the tobacco budworm also known as the geranium/petunia bud worm.


Life Cycle of a Bud Worm

Here’s what they do. The adults start to emerge as a tan to brown small moth mid March through mid April. They seek out the buds of flowering plants or the terminal growth (the ends of new growth) where they lay an egg. They will lay many eggs over their short lifespan. After a short time, the egg will hatch and the larvae will instinctively bore into the end of the bud where it will devour the blossom inside. The larvae are yellow to green in color but will take on the color of the blossom they just ate. Red geraniums will turn the larvae red. They will emerge from the bud and slowly make their way to the soil, eating any tender growth they can find on the way down. In the soil they will start the pupation process and turn into an adult moth and the cycle starts all over again. There could be as many as five generations in one summer.


 What do Bud Worms Like to Eat?

Although the budworm moth was known to only inhabit the southern regions of the country, they are creating quite a problem for gardeners in the great northwest. They have been quite successful over-wintering in the soil as a pupa. They will attack almost any tender flowering plant but they are best known for eating the buds of petunias, geraniums and nicotiana plants. They will also go after many vegetables, especially cabbage.



How to Get Rid of Bud Worms

Here’s how to kill them. Almost any insecticide will kill the budworm when it’s actively feeding but won’t do anything to the moth or pupa. A bacteria known as spinosad (spin-OH-sid) will attack the budworm throughout all stages of life. The most commonly known product that contains spinosad is Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew. We sell this at our Portland Garden Center Just spray it on once every few weeks and the problem is solved.