How to Grow Blackberries. Once Planted You Can Harvest For Years To Come
Blackberries are apart of the bramble family of fruits. There are four types of blackberries: thorny erect types (mainly wild), thorny trailing types, thornless trailing types, and thornless upright types.
Thorny blackberries have the best fruit quality but are not grown as much due to the annoyance of having to harvest around thorns. In addition, thorny blackberries are hardier than the thornless ones.
How to Grow:
Plant your blackberries in full sun and in well-drained soil. They don’t like wet soils. Plant blackberries in the fall after the first frost or in early spring as soon as the soil can be worked.
Prior to planting your blackberries, add compost to the soil. Do not plant in soils where Verticillium-susceptible crops have been grown (including tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplants, or strawberries) because they are very sensitive to that disease.
It would be a good idea to add lime and phosphorus to the soil in the fall before planting. Also add nitrogen to the soil in the spring just prior to planting. If you are planting dormant canes make sure to plant in the early spring. Before planting the canes, place the dormant plant roots in water and give them a good soak, then plant them in a deep hole and replace approximately half the soil with peat moss. If you are planting first generation plants, which are preferred, plant them as soon as the danger of frost has passed.
When watering the plants, aim at the ground and not the fruit, because if the fruit gets too wet it raises the chance of them getting a disease. Weed control is very important, especially in the first year. Applying mulch around your plants will help hinder the growth of weeds. You will get some fruit within 3 years but the full harvest will start after 3 years after the first planting. After the first year, very little needs to be done to your plants just add some nitrogen every late spring.
The fruiting canes will die after each fruiting is completed. These dead canes will need to be removed right after fruiting is done so as to improve air circulation for the next growth. Remove all dead, damaged or weak canes and thin the plants. Once thinned, remove the top ¼ of each remaining cane so that they are sturdy for the next year.
Healthy blackberries should produce for 10+ years if they are maintained properly.
All bramble plants should be harvested in the morning after the dew has dried.
When harvesting your berries, make sure to not stack the berries too high or the berries on the bottom will be crushed. Keep the berries out of direct sunlight and refrigerate, or freeze, as soon as possible.
Happy Berry Planting!