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Blackberry (Rubus fructicosus)   Edit Report inappropriate crop

For many allotment owners, having hands and arms shredded by brambles is their first experience of working an allotment. So you might think that blackberries are the last thing you want to be reintroducing to a plot. However, for a tricky, shadier part of an allotment, they are ideal. Modern varieties are also available with heavier yields of larger, sweeter fruit and thornless varieties make them much easier to manage. However, they do need managing - they will still grow to 3m if left unchecked and stems which touch the soil will quickly root.

You can grow them as bushes, maintaining an open centre, over arches (thornless varieties only!), or, more commonly, trained against wires against walls or stretched between two stout 1.8m posts (2.4m with 60cm in the soil). They are self-fertile so one plant is generally all that is needed.

Note: Pot-grown plants can be planted all year round.

Likes and dislikes
pH5.0 - 7.0
Previous cropdislike
Previous autumnok
Before plantingprefer
Full sunprefer
Partial shadeok

Dormant bare root

plant plant

Between plants: 45cm
Between rows: 300cm

Dig a trench 15cm deep by 45 cm wide and clear any weeds. Place canes into the trench slightly deeper than when they were lifted, spread out their roots, and backfill with a mixture of soil and well-rotted manure. Water in well and mulch with more manure. Cut down the original canes to 25cm .

harvest harvest

Choose a dry sunny morning and pick fruit by the stalk, with plug/core intact, and handle as little as posible. Don't expect good yields until the second year after planting.

prune prune

Immediately after harvest, cut out any dead or diseased wood and remove any branches congesting the centre of the plant. Blackberries fruit on the previous year's wood so remove any canes that have fruited. When growing along wires, one of the easiest ways to manage blackberries is to train all of one year's growth horizontally along wires on one side and then to train the next year's growth along the wires on the other side. When the first year's growth has fruited, cut it back and train all of the current year's growth along the newly exposed wires.

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