[NAFEX] Growing Blackberries in the North

Jim Fruth jfruth at uslink.net
Sat Dec 17 08:26:29 EST 2005

    I don't like the spreading qualities of blackberries either.  The only
reason why I plant them in my orchard is because I/we need the fruit for the
various jams we make.  I picked 176 pounds of them last Summer narrowly
missing stepping on several hornet's nests and my back is still sore from
all of that stooping.  We could use another 200 pounds and we hesitate to
buy any because so many folks spray their crops (We grow 90% of the fruit
that goes into our 43 varieties of jams, jellies and syrups and harvest the
remaining 10% from the wild).  I trellis my (home) blackberry plants so I
don't have to stoop so much and I make short work of hornets that attempt to
build a nest on my ground.  As for blackberry plants spreading, I plant in
8' rows so I can run my tiller to destroy runners without hurting parent
    I hear complaints from some would-be blackberry growers that their
plants don't produce any fruit.  All I can say is if I accidentally slop too
much fertilizer on some plants, they perform poorly.  Wild plants that
receive run-off from fertile areas don't seem to produce any fruit at all,
in areas where I pick, anyway.  I rely on my soils laboratory to tell me how
much of which fertilizers to put on my crops - I have my soil tested every
year and the results I get are too good to try it on my own.  Blackberry
plants need to be slightly stressed to receive a bountiful crop.

Jim Fruth
Brambleberry Farm
Pequot Lakes, MN
Jams, Jellies and Syrups

I'm afraid to plant blackberries, because they are the most vigorously
spreading monster.  Big arching canes AND root-suckers.  Then include the
usual thorns, and I'd much rather grow something else!

Tanis Cuff, s.WI, z4/5, various soils in the neighborhood therefore
different berry 

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