Monday, March 7, 2011

Growing Blackberries

While we continue to transform and, in some instances, completely replace our urban landscaping with edible food bearing plants, trees, and bushes it isn't surprising that we ended up planting two blackberry bushes this weekend. Besides being practical, relatively easy to grow, and of high personal sentimental value to me, it was inevitable that we'd eventually plant some blackberries.

As a child, I remember my grandmother giving me a plastic container and sending me out behind the hog barn to pick some blackberries from the massive bushes that had been there for decades.  It was fun and besides that, I got to eat all the free fruit I wanted while I worked.  Turning in a heaping bowl of blackberries also guaranteed that a blackberry cobbler and a bowl of vanilla ice cream would make an appearance as an after dinner desert.

According to Garden.org:
"Blackberries are among the easiest fruits to grow at home. Cultivated varieties have larger berries than the wild types. They'll start to bear the second year after planting and continue for about 15 years. Trained properly, four plants, each with a 3-by-3-foot growing area, can supply enough berries for a family of four. Where winters are not too severe, the new thornless varieties do well."
We've been looking for blackberry plants for several weeks from a local nursery source without any luck.  While walking around in Lowes on Sunday I ran into an assortment of berry bushes as I was leaving to include raspberry, blueberry and blackberries. Finally!

Most of the online sources sell the 2 year old berry plants for about $5, but require a $50 minimum order.  At Lowes, I picked up 2 of them for less than $10. What a deal. I only wish they were the thornless varierty, but you know what they say about beggars and choosers.

We decided to plant them in two large clay pots that Old Tyme Pottery had marked down to clearance levels.  Eventually they will become root bound in the pots and require some root pruning or re-potting, but hopefully we'll be set with the current containers for 3 or 4 years.

Front of package

Instructions for planting on the back
The instructions explain that once a week watering is required and that fertilizers shouldn't be used until new growth become visible. Easy peasy!

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