Growing Blackberries

Cluster of Growing Blackberries

Growing blackberries is easy and the plants produce an abundant harvest. There are blackberries with thorns and blackberries without thorns.

Be sure and get the totally thorn less type. They are so much easier to work with. We like the Black Satin Thorn Less variety.

Blackberries are rich in a colored nutrient called bioflavonoids. This nutrient helps the eyes resist ultraviolet radiation and free radical damage. In addition to being full of valuable nutrients that benefit the eyes and body, blackberries are delicious.

Planting Blackberries
Creating New Blackberry Plants
Trelissing Blackberries
Harvesting Blackberries

Planting Blackberries

Blackberry plants will be in the ground for many years, so you need to prepare the soil as well as you can before planting them. Add a lot of organic matter to the soil. See Types of Soil.

I recommend putting a large bag (4 cubic foot) of Vermiculite, a large bag of Perlite, and a large bag of Peat Moss for every 25 feet of row. Rototill this mixture into the soil along with a liberal sprinkling of 16-16-16 inorganic fertilizer. Preparing your soil now will pay big dividends later.

You can get your blackberry starts from a local nursery, online nursery, or from someone who has blackberries plants in their garden.

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Creating New Blackberry Plants

Creating New Blackberry Plants

Planting the ends of the long trailing canes in the early fall can produce new starts in the spring. The tips of these blackberry canes will develop roots. In the spring of the year, cut the canes so that they’re no longer connected to the mother plant. You’ll have new blackberry plants that you can transplant.

Prepare the soil for these new growing blackberries and plant them 2 ½ to 3 feet apart in the row. If you have more than one row of blackberries, the rows should be 6 feet apart.

Plant the blackberries at the same depth they were growing before you dug them.

This year’s growth produces next year’s fruit.

It usually takes about 2 years for the blackberry plants to come into full production. The first year the growing blackberries will develop canes with side branches, but they won't bear fruit.

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Trelissing Blackberries

Trelissing Blackberry plants

The western types of blackberries need to be trellised because the trailing canes need to be supported as they grow. Build a fence or trellis next to the new blackberry plants. Tie the canes to the fence as they grow.

Blackberry Plants

You can build a simple trellis by setting posts every 6 feet. Run two strands of heavy grade wire between these posts. Set the lower wire 2 feet off the ground and the upper wire 4 feet off the ground. The blackberries will grow 9-10 feet tall.

If you want to make a taller trellis, that’s a personal choice. I get loads of blackberries off my plants that are 4 feet tall. Keeping them low makes it easier to pick, prune, and handle the fast growing blackberries.

You can plant the ends of the trailing canes to created new plants. Or you can trim your blackberries throughout the summer so that they don’t get out of control. Trim this new growth back to 4 feet high.

It is important to prune your blackberries each spring. See pruning blackberries.

Water your new blackberry plants immediately after you plant them. Water them twice a week after that. See Garden Watering Systems.

Keep your blackberry patch weeded.
See Garden Weeds.

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Harvesting Blackberries

Blackberries in Bloom

After the blackberry plants blossom, new berries will begin developing. You’ll have ripe black fruit and green berries on the plant at the same time.

When the fruit is ripe the blackberries will begin to fill out and get very plump. If you take the berry and slightly twist it, the berry will come off easily. If you pick the berries before they're ripe, the fruit will be sour.

Picking Blackberries

Just because the growing blackberries are black, it doesn’t mean they’re ripe. They need to be plump and almost fall into your hand as you go to pick them. A few days makes all the difference between a sweet blackberry and a sour one.

Blackberries need to be picked twice a week or they'll get too ripe and drop off the plant.

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