How To Grow Strawberries in the Pacific Northwest

How To Grow Strawberries in the Pacific Northwest

How to Grow Strawberries: Choosing a Site

A deep, rich, well drained sandy loam is ideal for strawberry production. A slight to medium acid soil is best. Due to strawberry’s high water requirement, the soil needs to have plenty of organic matter to help hold moisture for growing plants. It is wise to amend the soil with compost prior to planting.



Planting Strawberries

It is important to plant as early as possible in the spring. Snow or light frosts will not hurt the plants. Plants should be planted in rows 12”-18” wide. Plants should be planted 12”-18” apart. Set plants with roots straight down. Care should be taken so that the plants are set with the crowns level with the top of the ground. This is very important to the strawberry’s survival and overall health. Through out the season avoid covering either old or new crowns with soil while hoeing, weeding, or cultivating. Be sure to water the plants well after planting.


Strawberry Bed Renovation

To keep your plants healthy and productive over the years, follow these few steps:

As soon as harvest is complete, mow off the leaves using your lawn mower set at the highest setting.
Rototill to narrow that row width to 12”-18”. Remove excess plants to leave 3-5 around each plant.
Fertilize with a well balanced slow release, All Purpose fertilizer. (4-4-4)
Maintain adequate moisture throughout the remainder of the growing season.
Mulch in November when plants start to go dormant. This will help with fluctuating temperatures. When you need any supplies for how to grow strawberries, visit us at our Portland Nursery and Garden Center!



When To Harvest Strawberries:

Berries will be bright red, slightly firm and juicy when ripe. The berries will also have a natural shine. Strawberries should be picked at their prime. They do not ripen after picking.

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.

Growing Figs in the Pacific Northwest

Growing Figs in the Pacific Northwest

Pop Quiz. Which country produces the most figs? The answer? Turkey. That doesn’t mean you can’t be growing figs, the delicious, sweet fruits right in your Pacific Northwest backyard, though. Drake’s 7 Dees is a garden center and landscaping company based out of Portland, and for the rest of 2020, we’re offering a FREE design guide that will help you get inspiration for your next outside project. 

Choosing a Site for Growing Figs

Figs should be planted in a full sun location. Figs can be planted in a container or in the ground.

Fertilizer for Figs

Fig trees grow satisfactorily in moderate soils without fertilizer. If growth is unsatisfactory then an application of Nitrogen is needed in the early spring. Don’t fertilize in the summer.

Training and Pruning Figs

Figs can be trained to be either a bush or a tree. The bush form is easier and more practical in the Oregon climate because of the frequent winter freezes. Each winter after, remove 1/3-1/2 of the annual growth. By pruning in the winter, this will help prevent the tree from suckering, or growing shoots from the base. Remember to keep the center of your fig tree open. This will allow it to get more sun and higher quality fruit. Figs can be pruned severely and kept small- as low as 5ft. When pruned this way the early crop is sacrificed. Figs planted in containers are also restricted in growth.

Fruit Bearing and Harvesting

Some varieties bear small fruit that ripen in the summer as well as the main fall-ripening crops. The figs bear fruits continuously over a period of 6 weeks. Remove any unripe fruit in the late fall. For the best flavor figs should be picked until the fruit wilts at the neck and bend over the stem. If any milky latex develops at the stem end when the fruit is picked, it has not reached its full ripeness.

Winterizing for Figs

All varieties are killed to the ground by temperatures at or below zero degrees F. At zero to ten degrees F., hardy varieties will be injured only on the ends of the branches. Trees more than three or four years old will grow back from the buds below the ground. It is wise to wrap your tree to protect it from the cold if you live in an area where temperatures fall below ten degrees F. To help your fig harden off for the winter, irrigation should be shut off after September 15th.