Growing Backyard Organic Blackberries
Posted April 15, 2022
Blackberries are gathered in summer and early autumn in most areas. Growing blackberries offers the best quality fruits. Thornless varieties are our favorite for the backyard! They are easier to maintain, and picking is much easier.
Blackberries are usually propagated in late winter and ready to obtain in the spring. Pick a spot that is open and sunny, providing them a protected area from strong winds. They grow on a wide range of soil types. A soil pH of 6.0-6.5 is best, but blackberries will grow in soils ranging from a 4.5-7.5. A deep, fine, sandy loam is ideal, butt blackberries grow well in heavier soils if they are well drained. They are and excellent option to growing where raspberries may struggle, as they are more picky about their growing environment.
Prepare soil by amending with compost. Keep soil moist, but never soggy. Once the berries just start to bloom, fertilize for larger fruits. We use Acid Mix 4-3-6 because we have a higher pH. For those with low pH, use Fruit Tree 6-2-4. Once a year is adequate unless your plants seem to be slow growing or yellowing.
Blackberry canes are biennial. Vegetative canes develop the first year, bear fruit the second year, and die after fruiting. New canes produced in the second and later years will be erect and should be cut to a height of 3-4 ft in midsummer to encourage lateral branching, which is where the best and most fruit will be produced. Prune hedgerows to a width of about 3-4 ft.
Blackberries need to be harvested when fully ripe, as they will not ripen after picked. Look for a deep, dark, almost black color with no red. Slightly pull on the berries and if they come off easily, they are ready. If you have to pull rather hard leave them on for another day or two so they can sweeten and become fully ripe.