Only a few blackberries are left on our vine anymore. Purple and overripe, they make the porch smell like jam.
We planted them with crossed fingers, not really knowing what to expect. But it turns out blackberries are terribly easy to grow at home. (They grow wild around here too - we recently found a patch over at Pixie Woods).
Watching Alice pluck berries right off the vine and pop them in her mouth has become one of the great pleasures of early summer for me.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when growing blackberries at home:
- You probably want to trellis them. Not all blackberries need the extra support, but it's helpful, especially when it's time to harvest. Ours grow along the front porch railing, which is convenient and pretty.
- Blackberry canes grow one season and then produce fruit the next season. For us, this means we get a year of really abundant berries, followed by a year that's sort of disappointing.
- They love full sun and well-drained soil and, after the first year, need a lot of pruning.
- Blackberries are usually planted in December or January, the dormant season. But you could plant a potted vine even now. Space them at least 3 to 4 feet apart. (In my experience, they really take off - you might not need too many).
- Pick when the berries are dark, dark purple and yield easily. If the berry has even a little red still on it, it's unripe and likely bitter.
- Be careful. Blackberries have pretty white blossoms that look delicate and sweet. But they can also have monster thorns - make sure little hands don't reach under or inside the vines to harvest.
I don't know about you, but blackberry pie seems like the perfect summery dessert. I recently shared my recipe with The Record newspaper. Find it here.
We replaced part of our front yard with an edible garden. Read more about it right here.