Guide for Growing Blackberries

Overview

Native Americans have been consuming blackberries for thousands of years, according to North Carolina State University. These berries are loaded with antioxidants and can be eaten fresh, dried or in preserves. Blackberries are not as hardy as raspberries and other kinds of berries. Still, they are able to adapt to most soil types and only really need fertilizer if the gardener wants to maximize blackberry bush productivity.

Conditions

The location for the blackberries must be temperate and somewhat warm. The soil must be sandy loam so that the soil drains well and is also able to hold enough water for the blackberries to be able to absorb water and nutrients. The pH level must be between 6 and 6.5. Purchase pH strips to test the soil pH level yourself. Use sulfur to lower the soil pH, and raise the pH with lime, hardwood ash, bone meal or crushed marble.

Weeds and Diseases

Weeds can sap the energy of blackberry bushes. Add a mulch or a cover crop to prevent this. When purchasing blackberry bushes at a nursery, make sure they are certified disease-free in order to avoid infecting other blackberry bushes with a disease. Blackberry bushes are somewhat resistant to diseases and pests, but when blackberry bushes do become infected, the pests and diseases typically spread to other bushes.

Harvesting

Blackberries are harvested when they are easy to pull off of the stems and when they are dry. They are picked and placed in shallow containers to avoid too much piling up and crushing each other. This step is repeated every three to six days until there are no more blackberries. Once picked, refrigerate the blackberries.

Pruning

Prune the floricanes, the small stems on the blackberry bush that produce the blackberries, after they have produced berries. Pruning them allows more floricanes to grow, resulting in more blackberries.

Warning

Avoid planting blackberry bushes on southern slopes since the warmth from the south will cause the blackberry flowers to open up early, causing the blackberry flowers to be vulnerable to frost. Blackberry bushes should not be planted where there are hot and cold winds. Windbreaks are not always a good solution to this problem because they reduce air circulation.

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About this Author

Charles Pearson has written as a freelancer for two years. He has a B.S. in Literature from Purdue University Calumet and is currently working on his M.A. He has written three ebooks so far: Karate You Can Teach Your Kids, Macadamia Growing Handout and The Raw Food Diet.