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Rasberry plants. How do I Fertilize?

Hi Steve: We read your The Plant Man every week in the Longville MN paper. I have a question for you regarding a garden that seems to need some fertilizer as has been used for several years. It is a large area and a portion of it is in raspberry plants. My husband thinks we should be able to use the same fertilizer that is used on the yard either put it on this winter before the ground freezes and rototill it in or first thing in the spring and work it in before planting. I told him that I thought more than likely there would be a special fertilizer for this and maybe you could tell us what this would be. We seem to run into people in the nurseries here that no nothing about garden planting. We read about composting and different things like this, but we really do not have a place to compost and one alternative would be to haul barnyard manure in, but this would not be real cost effective for the size of the garden that we plan to plant next year. Our soil is real sandy.

Can you help?

Thanks Norma Ware

Hello Norma

First, I am very pleased that you read our column.

I can give you a few suggestions for building the soil

in your garden area.

Since you have grown raspberry plants and I will assume well. The Ph in your soil is probably more of an acid type. Therefore, the first thing you will need to do is to add lime. I would buy the palletized lime because it is easier to distribute. This will bring up the ph in your soil, which most other plants to survive and thrive. Without a soil test, we will have to guess. Let us say about 100 lbs per 50 square foot area. This may sound like a lot but you have a hard time putting on too much lime. Next, because your soil is sandy you will have to add organic matter. Manure is good but straw would also be good if worked into the soil. I would put down about a 4-inch layer of straw and till it into the soil before winter. All before winter so that it can rot and become the organic matter that you need. Just putting fertilizes down without lime and organic matter would be ineffective and useless. There is really nothing there for the fertilize to help.

Hope this helps

Kind regards

Steve Jones

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