blackberry 101

Discussion in 'Fruit and Vegetables' started by majorcatfish, Mar 2, 2014.

  1. majorcatfish

    majorcatfish Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    293
    Location:
    north carolina
    Planting Zone:
    7
    have been growing a variety call tripe crown which are thornless for 12+ years which is a cane type and very easy to propagate. sorry to say have never grown bush type so my knowledge of that type is very limited.

    purchasing a quality crown.
    first off you want to pick a variety that grows well in your zone, most blackberries have a hardness growing range of zone 5-9< personally picked a type that was in the middle>. 12 years ago there was not selection
    compared to today.
    you want to purchase from a reputable nursery/ catalog.
    millers which is now starks
    http://www.starkbros.com/
    http://noursefarms.com/
    When ordering you will more in likely receive Bare root plants so have your planting site ready before your Shipping date.

    site preparation
    blackberries like loamy soil and full sun, but they will tolerate most soil types.
    once you decided to grow them time to find a location, for best production you should choose to run your tellis system from east to west. depending on your soil you may need to amend the soil.

    trellis system
    this is up to you.. for ease of picking would recommend 6' high with 2' buried= 8' poles
    you can use a single wire, here we use the double tee type with cross arms mounted 3' and 6' with a span of 2'
    poles spread 12' apart<4 plants between poles> trellis systems spread 8" apart

    Planting
    Once you have the trellis system in place time to prepare the
    Holes, dig the hole 15" wide and 12" deep,take the shovel and break up the soil put the bare root or potted plant into the hole and fill In with the soil and lightly fertilize and water.

    watering
    1 to 2 inches a week here we use soaker hoses on both sides of the crowns about 10" to either side.

    fertilizer
    13-13-13 works great here, but you should have your soil tested in the fall to see if you need to adjust, now with that said i do add extra triple phosphate and greensand in the spring and after that 13-13-13 mid june.

    mulching and weeds
    mulching is a great idea and should be done during the fall..
    if you are starting a new area once you have set your poles and prepared your planting holes for the berries
    laydown weed block fabric. where you are going to plant cut the fabric back 10" for ease of planting.
    a few things to think about mulch
    most local nurseries will have a couple types of mulch
    single grind.... it's rough could be from land clearing/ storm damage/ diseased trees....
    double grind.. same as above but a year old
    2-3 year old aged mulch thats what you want
    when putting down mulch you should put a layer of 3-5" and keep it 8" away from the crown.

    pest control
    that is up to how you wish to control them, organic or petrochemical.
    petrochemical will kill everything and should not be use 7-14 days before harvest
    organic is more friendly.. word......neem oil


    ok time for some terminology and photos

    floricane...... last years growth that produces this years berries
    primocane ..... this years growth that produces next years berries
    mother... the original plant
    daughter a clone of the mother

    this is last years primocanes.. photo from today
    DSC_0008.JPG
    this years floricanes.....photo from last year
    DSC_0023 (640x426).jpg
    now while there are producing they are growing next years primocanes
    DSC_0001 (640x426).jpg

    for best production you want to top the primocane top at 6' so there is more energy for the side shoots to run. you can see me cutting the top off and the primo runners for next year.
    DSC_0012 (640x426).jpg

    now for propagation
    all you need to do is when the runners get long enough is to take the tip and put into a pot of soil and by that fall you will have a daughter ready to plant in the spring.
    DSC_0024 (640x426).jpg

    if you live in a colder climate you would want to either cover the pot in mulch or bury it.

    and that's it......
    here's a photo from a early picking from last year.
    SANY0245 (640x480).jpg
    once they really went to ripening we would pick 3-5 gallons twice a week..
    nice thing about blackberries everyone wants them, we sell them for $ 6 a quart $20 a gallon
    last year was one of our better years the berries we sold paid for half of our property tax.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2014
    Mike and w_r_ranch like this.
  2. Mike

    Mike Might know the answer Administrator

    Messages:
    427
    Location:
    Kentucky
    Planting Zone:
    6b
    Great info, thanks for sharing! Those berries look HUGE.
     
  3. ErnieCopp

    ErnieCopp Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    480
    Location:
    Vista, CA San Diego County
    Planting Zone:
    9B
    Major, We are on the same page here, i think. I may have more suckers so my prime canes for next year are closer together, and since they are younger plants, not so many canes in each bunch.
    I do some tip layering when i need to, but i think the best way is to use some of the six inch wire staples used for securing drip tube or the weed barrier. I bend a cane down as near the root as possible and pin it with a staple, and throw some dirt on it. then later in the season i cut the cane below the staple, and it is a much bigger plant with more roots than the ones i do in containers. That works on raspberries, too.

    I probably should have bought thornless crowns instead of settling for the freebies, but too late now.

    Ernie
     
  4. majorcatfish

    majorcatfish Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    293
    Location:
    north carolina
    Planting Zone:
    7
    have tried just tipping a runner into the ground as you have done, but was not impressed with the out come of the plant.
    i mean it grew but growing them in pots seamed to work better <for me at least>. plus starting them in pots you can start a new row anywhere you want.. as for suckers have only seen a hand full over the years.

    been pondering the idea of growing raspberries again.
     
  5. ErnieCopp

    ErnieCopp Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    480
    Location:
    Vista, CA San Diego County
    Planting Zone:
    9B
    I can see the benefits of both ways. For me, with lots of sprouts or suckers coming up, i could generally place the staple where i wanted to start a new plant, so some starts were in the right place to begiin with, and the ones i needed to move was easily done with a posthole digger so there was no set back.

    The Raspberries i started in pots did fine, and of course i liked the root ball in the containers, but we have to irrigate everything all summer so that meant watering the containers with a hose while the ones on the ground were watered automatically. The only difference in the plants were the ones that were stapled had a bigger diameter cane to start with.

    The grapes i tipped last summer in containers developed huge root systems, so each way has their advantages.

    I think it is interesting that you do not have many suckers and i can see how that would be a real benefit, being able to keep them under control.

    Ernie
     
  6. majorcatfish

    majorcatfish Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    293
    Location:
    north carolina
    Planting Zone:
    7
    oh yes there is always more than one way to do things in a garden....
    i gave up on trying to grow grapes between the deer< how in the blank did they know when i was going to harvest them>they would strip them clean...and then there was black rot spray spray spray it was a losing battle.
     

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