How to grow blackberries for in your backyard garden. Blackberries are delicious and nutritious fruits that are easy to grow in many regions of the world. Whether you’re an experienced gardener or a beginner, growing blackberries is a rewarding experience that can yield a bountiful harvest of sweet, juicy berries.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to successfully grow blackberries in your home garden, including the best varieties to choose from, ideal planting conditions, and tips on pruning and harvesting.
- Choose a suitable location: Blackberries grow best in well-drained soil with full sunlight. Look for a spot in your garden that gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day and has good drainage.
- Prepare the soil: Blackberries prefer soil that is rich in organic matter and has a pH of 6.0 to 6.5. Work in plenty of compost or well-rotted manure to improve the soil’s fertility and structure. You may also need to adjust the soil’s pH by adding lime or sulfur.
- Plant the blackberries: Blackberries can be planted in the fall or early spring, depending on your region. Space the plants 3 to 4 feet apart in rows that are 6 to 8 feet apart. Make sure to plant them at the same depth they were growing in their nursery containers.
- Provide support: Blackberry canes can grow quite tall and need support to keep them from toppling over. You can use a trellis or a fence to support the canes as they grow.
- Water regularly: Blackberries need regular watering, especially during the first growing season. Make sure to water deeply and regularly, so the roots have plenty of moisture. Avoid getting water on the leaves or fruit, as this can encourage disease.
- Mulch: Mulching around blackberry plants can help keep the soil moist and suppress weeds. Use a layer of organic material, such as straw or wood chips, to a depth of 2 to 3 inches.
- Prune: Blackberry plants need regular pruning to keep them healthy and productive. Prune out any dead or damaged canes, and cut back the remaining canes to a height of 3 to 4 feet. This will encourage new growth and fruit production.
Choosing the Best Blackberry Plants for Your Garden
Before you start growing blackberries, it’s essential to choose the right variety for your region and climate. There are three primary types of blackberries: thorny varieties, erect varieties, and thornless varieties. Thorny varieties are the wild cousins of cultivated blackberries and have long, spiky thorns.
Erect varieties have stiff canes that grow straight up and require a support system to prevent them from toppling over. Thornless varieties are the most popular type of blackberry and are easy to grow in a home garden. They come in both trailing and erect varieties, and they’re more tolerant of cold temperatures and insect pests than other types.
When choosing blackberry plants for your garden, it’s also important to consider the fruit’s growth habit. Blackberries produce fruit on two-year-old canes, which means you need to maintain a balance of both first-year canes and second-year canes to ensure a continuous harvest.
The first-year canes, known as primocanes, grow new shoots and leaves but don’t produce fruit. Second year canes, known as floricanes, produce the majority of the fruit and need special attention during the growing season.
Another critical factor to consider when selecting blackberry plants is their hardiness zone. Blackberries are perennial plants with a perennial root system, and different varieties have different hardiness levels. It’s essential to choose blackberry plants that are suited to your climate and hardiness zone to ensure they thrive in your garden.
Most Flavorful Blackberry Varieties
- Navaho as the best-tasting new blackberry.
- Arapaho is second.
- Kiowa is a thorny upright blackberry that could be the biggest blackberry in the whole world!
How to Grow Balckberries Step 1- Soil Prep
Blackberries require full sun to grow and produce fruit, so it’s essential to choose a spot in your garden that gets at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. They also prefer well-drained soil that’s rich in organic matter and has a pH between 6.0 to 6.5. If your soil is heavy clay, you can amend it with garden compost or other organic matter to improve drainage and fertility.
Before planting, it’s a good idea to amend the soil with organic matter to improve drainage and fertility. Blackberry plants thrive in well-drained soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5.
Planting Blackberry Plants: The Best Time and Growing Conditions
Once you’ve chosen the right blackberry plants for your garden, it’s time to start planting. The best time to plant new plants is in the early spring, just after the last frost. Planting in the fall is also an option in warmer climates, but you should avoid planting in the middle of summer when the temperatures are hot.
Blackberry plants are typically planted in early spring, after the threat of frost has passed. They can be planted in the ground or in large containers filled with well-drained soil. When planting blackberry plants in the ground, make sure to dig a hole deep enough so that the base of the plant is at ground level.
If planting bare-root plants, make sure to soak the roots in water for a couple of hours before planting. Once planted, make sure to water the plants thoroughly and apply a layer of mulch around the base of the plant to help retain moisture and suppress weeds.
When planting blackberry plants, make sure to plant them at the same depth they were growing in their nursery containers. Plant the blackberries 3 to 4 feet apart in rows that are 6 to 8 feet apart. After planting, gently firm the soil around the plants and water them thoroughly to help settle the soil.
Providing Support for Growing Blackberry Plants
Blackberry bushes can grow quite tall and need support to prevent them from toppling over. You can use a trellis, fence, or support wire to keep the canes upright. For trailing varieties, install a support wire 3 to 4 feet above the ground and train the canes to grow along the wire. For erect varieties, install two support wires, one 3 feet above the ground and one
Watering Blackberry Plants
Proper watering is essential for blackberry plants, particularly during the first growing season. During this time, the plant’s roots are still establishing themselves, and they require plenty of moisture. Make sure to water the plants deeply and regularly, so the soil is moist but not waterlogged. Avoid getting water on the leaves or fruit, as this can encourage fungal diseases.
Watering in the early morning or late afternoon is ideal, as it gives the leaves enough time to dry before the sun sets. Drip irrigation can be an effective method of watering blackberries. It provides the plants with a slow and steady supply of water, which is better than sporadic watering which can cause the soil to become waterlogged.
Mulching Blackberry Plants – How to Grow Blackberries
Mulching is an excellent way to help blackberry plants retain moisture and control weed growth. It involves placing a layer of organic material, such as straw or wood chips, around the plants. The mulch should be approximately 2 to 3 inches deep, but it should not touch the base of the plant. Mulching also provides a barrier against pests and diseases that may be in the soil. Additionally, as the mulch breaks down, it adds nutrients to the soil and improves its texture.
Regular pruning is necessary to keep blackberry plants healthy and encourage new growth. Prune out any dead or damaged canes, and cut back the remaining canes to a height of 3 to 4 feet. This will promote new canes to grow from the base of the plant. Pruning should be done in late winter or early spring before new growth starts. It is essential to remove the old fruiting canes after harvest, as they can harbor pests and diseases.
Learn more about training your blackberry plants from the USDA!
How to Harvest Your Blackberry Plants
Blackberries are ripe when they turn black and have a shiny appearance. Harvesting time varies from late summer to late fall, depending on the variety and time of year. It is best to pick ripe fruit every couple of days to avoid over-ripening and rotting. Blackberry plants can produce fruit for many years if they are well-maintained. To prevent damage, harvest the fruit by gently pulling the berry from the plant.
Home Grown Blackberry Pests & Diseases
Blackberry plants can be susceptible to a variety of insect pests and fungal diseases, such as Japanese beetles and purple blotch. Keeping a watchful eye on the plants for any signs of damage or disease is crucial, And remove any infected or dead plant material to prevent the spread of disease.
If you notice any issues, consider using balanced fertilizer to keep the plants healthy and well-fed.
Choosing the Right Blackberries to Grow
When you are learning how to grow blackberry plants you need to decide which varieties are best in your area. selecting blackberry plants, there are two types to consider: erect and trailing. Erect blackberries have a more upright growth habit and typically require less space, while trailing blackberries have a more sprawling habit and require more space. Another consideration is whether to choose thornless or thorny varieties.
Thornless blackberries are easier to pick, but some gardeners prefer thorny varieties for their better taste. Some popular blackberry varieties to consider include “Loch Ness,” “Chester,” and “Triple Crown.”When selecting blackberry plants, it’s important to consider the variety’s growth habit. Some blackberry plants are upright and require support systems, while others have long canes that need to be trained along wires. It’s also important to choose a variety that is suitable for your climate and hardiness zone.
How to Grow Blackberry Plants
Blackberry plants require full sun and regular watering during the growing season, especially during the first year. In the second year, new canes will emerge from the base of the plant, and the second-year canes will produce fruit. The best way to ensure a healthy and productive blackberry plant is to prune regularly and remove any dead canes or damaged growth.
In addition to regular watering, blackberry plants can benefit from drip irrigation, which can help provide consistent moisture to the roots without getting water on the leaves or fruit. It’s also important to keep a watchful eye on the plants for any signs of insect pests or fungal diseases. Consider using a balanced fertilizer to keep the plants healthy and well-fed.
Harvesting Home Grown Blackberries
You’ve wporked hard to learn how to grow blackberries… Now it’s time for your reward! Harvest!
Blackberries are typically ripe and ready to harvest in late spring or early summer, depending on the variety and time of year. Ripe fruit should be dark and shiny, with a juicy texture and sweet flavor. It’s best to pick ripe fruit every couple of days to avoid over-ripening and rotting.
To harvest blackberries, gently pick the fruit from the plant, being careful not to damage the new primocanes or new shoots. Once harvested, blackberries can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days or frozen for later use.
How to Grow Blackberries – Pests & Diseases
Blackberry plants are susceptible to a variety of insect pests and fungal diseases, including Japanese beetles and purple blotch. To avoid these issues, keep a watchful eye on the plants and consider using natural pest control methods such as neem oil or insecticidal soap.
It’s also important to keep the area around the blackberry plants clean and free of debris, which can harbor pests and disease. Regular pruning can also help keep the plants healthy and reduce the risk of fungal diseases.
Growing blackberry plants can be a rewarding experience for home gardeners, providing juicy and delicious fruit throughout the growing season. With the right care and attention, blackberry plants can thrive and produce high yields of fruit for many years. By selecting the right variety
What To Do Whith Blackberries – How to Grow Blackberries
There’s nothing better than a hot blackberry pie with ice cream… But there are so many ways to use homegrown blackberries including: