How to Raise Blackberries

Overview

Few desserts are more delicious than blackberry pie, still warm from the oven. If you have enough garden space, you can grow your own blackberries, which you can use in pies, jams and other dishes to delight your family and friends every summer when they are at the peak of their ripeness. Before you begin your blackberry patch, make sure you have plenty of space and be prepared to stake or trellis your bushes to keep them from becoming unruly.

Start Your Blackberry Patch Today

Step 1

Test your soil. Blackberries prefer slightly acidic soils with a pH between 5.5 and 7.0. If you need to raise the pH, add lime. If you need to lower it, add sulfur.

Step 2

Purchase your blackberry plants from a nursery instead of trying to dig them from a wild location. This will assure that they are free of diseases and pests.

Step 3

Prepare your planting area by cultivating it to remove weeds and other plants, and dig in plenty of rich compost to give your blackberries the nutrients they need.

Step 4

Dig a hole slightly larger than the root system of your plant. In northern states, plant in early spring; in southern states, plant in fall or early spring.

Step 5

Set your plants into their holes and then fill the holes with the soil you dug out earlier. If you are planting more than one plant, leave 4 feet between plants because blackberries will grow long, spreading canes that need plenty of space.

Step 6

Water your blackberry bushes well throughout the summer growing months. They need about 1 inch of water per week. When it's very hot or windy, water more.

Step 7

Fertilize in spring when the plants begin to send out new growth. Blackberries respond well to a 10-20-20 granular fertilizer that you spread at their base. For every 100 feet of their row, apply 5 to 6 lbs. of fertilizer. You can also apply manure in winter if you choose that form of fertilizer.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid the Himalayan blackberry because it will take over your yard---it's not recommended because of its highly invasive potential. The varieties Prime Jim and Prime Jan are good choices for home gardens.

Things You'll Need

  • Sunny location
  • Compost
  • Blackberry plants
  • Shovel
  • Water
  • Fertilizer

References

  • Oregon State University Extension
  • Farm info
  • Soil pH

Who Can Help

  • Commercial Varieties
Keywords: blackberry growing, gardening berries, Himalayan invasive

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens" and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to "Big Island Weekly," "Ke Ola" magazine and various websites. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at University of California, Santa Barbara and her Master of Arts from San Jose State University.