We have lots of blackberries growing wild on Pineapple Hill along the bottom pasture fence line and in a thicket concealing the ravine out by the road in front of our house. The ones along the pasture don’t get very big but are easy to pick. The ones in the thicket get plump as thumbs and so juicy they’ll burst when you pick them –but you risk your life going after them. The thorn’s will tear you to shreds like the wood chipper in Fargo. That is if the snakes don’t get you first.
And, of course, you don’t want to be snacking on berries (five for Management, two for Labor) right after the power company has stopped by for a neighborly spraying of highly poisonous defoilant. (We’ve agreed they should warn me next time.)
Making the switch from boat to land and from city to boonies has not been without hiccups (as described in my book Blue Rubber Pool, coming out in 2018) and although I seem to be learning the hard way I am, at least, picking up a few tricks. For instance: the blackberry trellis.
Training blackberry canes to grow on a trellis is ingenious. And a good addition to another thing I’ve learned –not to plant grapevine too close to oak trees (because the tree drink up the water intended for grapes. So now my vineyard includes a few blackberry bushes too.
Set out some mesh fence (of the type used for a goat pasture). Plant the bush. Start but cutting off any old canes. Then periodically weave the new growth through the mesh. Voila!
Pick up your game yet another notch by using thornless blackberry plants. That’s right, thorn-less.
The blackberry trellis “set up” might also be a good solution for city/suburb dwellers wanting to grow berries in limited garden space.
Stay tuned for another episode of Green Acres.
— Tim Bryant
Author of Blue Rubber Pool
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill