Growing your own berries is an all-around enjoyable undertaking, whether you’re interested in the wide range of health benefits that come from adding something edible to your garden or you’re a foodie who appreciates unlimited culinary possibilities.
Growing blackberries is simple, but they, like any other fruit-bearing plant, require special attention to thrive. You’ll have to be patient if you want to know not only how to get your blackberries to grow but also how long it will take until you see fruit.
Understanding Berry Bushes
Blackberries are perennials, meaning they come back year after year. These fruits come in three varieties: Trailing thornless blackberries, erect thorny blackberries, and semi-erect thornless blackberries, and
Blackberries are prone to a variety of diseases and pests. Fruit worms, weeds, mites, grey mold, and the raspberry bushy dwarf virus are among them. You must keep a close eye on your blackberries and do everything possible to keep them healthy. Though blackberries do not require much upkeep, they will need to be pruned to remove any dead canes so that new fruit can form.
How to Prepare Your Growing Space
To stay healthy and perform at their best, blackberries require complete sun and well-drained soil rich in organic matter. A soil test is a great way to ensure that your berries are getting the right kind of soil for nutrition.
It’s best to make soil adjustments before digging planting holes for blackberries. You can buy commercial potting mixes specially made for plants like blackberries if you’re growing them in containers. They’ll have the right soil pH for your berries.
How do Blackberries Grow?
You will not have any fruit on your blackberry bushes if you just planted them in your yard. If that’s the case, you’re probably curious as to when blackberry bushes bear fruit and if there’s anything you can do to encourage them.
In most parts of the United States, a blackberry plant generally produces fruit for 3 to 4 weeks between the end of June and the start of September. Some bushes will bear fruit on first-year canes, but most will not bear fruit for another year or two.
Other factors that can affect the growth of fruit on blackberry bush include crowded spacing, over-fertilization, and environmental conditions.
Blackberries can grow both with and without assistance. “Erect” blackberries don’t require any physical assistance to grow because they can stand on their own. The “non-erect” cultivars, such as trailing blackberries, will require support from a trellis or training wires.
Blackberries, regardless of the variety, require a thick layer of mulch on the surrounding soil to keep moisture in and weeds out. Be sure to give the blackberries enough water, about 1 inch of water a week, and more when it’s hotter outside.
How Long Does it Take for Blackberries to Grow?
You can expect healthy fruit from your blackberries if you give them what they need to grow. Be patient, though. The canes will grow first after you plant the seeds, producing only leaves or a small batch of fruit the first year. The fruit will fully mature in the second year before the canes die and new canes are produced.
Each cane lives for two years, and old canes will need to be pruned to prevent diseases from spreading to the new canes. The faster you prune dead canes, the faster new ones sprout. To keep fruit growing consistently, do not prune healthy canes.
Blackberries are usually ready to pick at the end of the summer or the beginning of the fall season, and they should be picked in cool weather and refrigerated right away. Remember, if you don’t want to wait, you can always look for blackberry plants for sale in your area.
Tips for taking care of your blackberry harvest
Mulching is necessary all year long to conserve moisture and suffocate weeds. Always keep a thick layer of mulch around the plants. Blackberries need a lot of water, especially when they’re growing and ripening. Make sure your plants get one inch of water per week or more in hot weather.
Feed them a balanced plant food containing essential nutrients in the early spring. They’ll stay well-fed if you give them another feeding in 12-16 weeks. In the early spring, fertilize blackberries with an all-purpose fertilizer like 10-10-10 or 16-16-8.
Keep an eye out for signs of insect pests that might try to derail your berry-growing plans. To keep your harvest on track, use a trusted pesticide brand to control a wide range of unwanted insects.
How to Harvest and Store Blackberries
Only choose berries that are completely black. The mature berries are plump but solid, with a deep black color and a tendency to pull easily from the plant without yanking. After being picked, berries do not ripen. Blackberries must be picked frequently once they begin to ripen—every couple of days.
Even with refrigeration, blackberries are highly perishable and generally last a few days once gathered. Although fresh fruit is usually preferred, blackberries can be preserved, canned, or frozen. Blackberries can be frozen using the same methods as blueberries.
Backyard raspberries and blackberries were once the domain of gardeners with plenty of space and time. True, these delectable berries necessitate a little additional effort, but the reward is well worth the effort.
Berry plants produce their initial crops faster than other fruit trees after they are planted. You might be able to enjoy fresh berries sooner than you think, so be prepared by planning ahead.
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