Spacing of Small Fruits in the Home Garden

Successful gardening requires close attention to cultural practices. In order to obtain top yields, proper spacing of fruits and vegetables is vital. The spacing requirements for the commonly grown small fruits in the home garden are presented below.

June-bearing strawberries should be planted 18 to 24 inches apart in rows spaced 4 feet apart. Runners will develop and root freely and eventually form a matted row of plants about 2 feet wide.

Everbearing and day-neutral strawberry cultivars are typically planted in beds consisting of 2 or 3 rows that are 1 foot apart. The plants are spaced 1 foot apart within the rows. A 2-foot-wide path should separate the beds. Any runners that develop on everbearing and day neutral strawberries should be removed and the plants maintained as large, single plants.

Red and yellow raspberries may be planted 1 1/2 to 3 feet apart within the row. (The 1 1/2-foot spacing can be used to fill in the row more quickly for earlier maximum plant density and production.) The distance between rows should be 6 to 8 feet. Red raspberries sucker profusely. For best results, maintain red raspberry plantings in 1- to 2-foot-wide hedgerows.

Black and purple raspberries should be planted 3 feet apart within the row. Rows should be spaced 6 to 8 feet apart. Black and purple raspberries grow in clumps and will remain in their original position.

Grapevines should be planted 6 to 8 feet apart within the row. Vigorous cultivars, such as 'Concord', should be planted 8 feet apart. Cultivars that produce less vigorous growth may be planted 6 feet apart. The spacing between rows should be at least 9 feet.

Gooseberries and currants should be planted 4 to 5 feet apart in rows 6 to 8 feet apart.

Elderberries should be spaced approximately 7 to 8 feet apart in rows 10 to 12 feet apart.

Blueberry cultivars differ markedly in size. Highbush blueberries, such as 'Patriot', 'Blueray', and 'Collins', develop into 6-to 8-foot shrubs. Half-high blueberries commonly grow only 1 to 2 feet tall.

Highbush blueberry cultivars should be spaced 4 to 6 feet apart. A 3- to 4-foot spacing is adequate for the smaller half-high blueberries.

This article originally appeared in the April 5, 1996 issue, p. 48.

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