Tag Archive | blackberries

Staking Fall-Bearing Blackberries


“I purchased some fall bearing blackberries.  How do we stake these up?  There are about three blackberries on the plant, but I feel we are going to have frost before they ripen. But, my question is how do we stake or tie these up?

Mary Weiner”

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Hi Mary,

Thank you for the email regarding your blackberries.  I’m glad to hear that they are doing well.

Fall Blackberries

Various trellis or support systems can be used with blackberries, but staking is simpler. Also known as the hill system, staking blackberries requires first planting bare root berries about four feet apart in a row.

1.  Drive in a metal T-post about 6 inches from each plant so that posts also stand 4 feet apart in the row.

2.  Run one strand of wire tightly between all posts in the row–attaching to each post–at a height of about 4 1/2 feet above the ground.

3.  Spread fruiting branches out along the wire. Twine these branches around the wire and attach them loosely with plastic plant ties.

4.  Tie later new canes, as they emerge, to the post, establishing the center of the berry hill. Continue to prune and train canes to the wire support and post as plants get established.

5.  Cut back and remove all floricanes–fruit-producing or second-year canes–after harvest, when they die back.

6.  Thin the remaining canes early in the following spring, leaving just 5 to 7 of the sturdiest canes per hill. Cut side branches of the canes back to 12 buds and then tie canes to the post or wire.

7.  Pinch off the growing tips of new canes when they reach the wire, to encourage side branches, or laterals, that will bear fruit the following year.

I hope this information helps you out.  If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.

 

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Mulching Blackberries


“Do blackberry brambles need to be mulched for the winter? Mine
are varieties that are “hardy” but I wonder if mulching the the plants canes
and all would be helpful.

Steve in Jenera, OH”

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Hi Steve,

Thank you for the email regarding your blackberries.  It is okay to mulch blackberries, but it is not necessary.  To be honest, in my garden at home, I do not mulch the canes.  If some leaves blow in and get caught in them, I usually leave them there, but I don’t add anything beyond it.  I have a good crop of berries each year.

Blackberry Canes
One thing to keep in mind if you do add mulch is that the mulch may provide a nice overwintering hideout for mice, voles, and other vermin that may see your canes as dinner.  When blackberries (or for that matter, any woody plant) is mulched, there is a higher risk that animals may chew on the canes and/or girdle the canes.

I hope this information helps you out.  If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.

Recipe of the Week: Blackberry Cobbler


Blackberry Cobbler
serves 8 

1 stick butter, salted
1 c. self rising flour
1 c. sugar
1. c. buttermilk
1 1/2–2 c. blackberries (or other fruit)

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In an 8×8 inch baking dish, add butter and place in the oven until melted and slightly bubbling, not browned.
2. Meanwhile, sift the flour and sugar together. Whisk in the buttermilk. Batter should be pourable. If too thick, add 1 teaspoon of buttermilk at a time.
3. Once the butter is melted, remove from the oven, and immediately pour in batter. Edges will begin to cook. Generously add the fruit. Return to oven, and bake for 30-35 minutes or until crust is golden.
4. Serve warm with ice cream.

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Waxing or Waning: Gardening by the Moon


“Dear Horticulture Talk,

I have heard of people gardening by the moon. Does it really work or is it some kind of Wicca or pagan thing? Have you ever done it?

Thanks,

Carrie”

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Thanks for the question, Carrie. Yes, I have used the moon cycles to plan my garden and yard work for years. It doesn’t mean that you are all about Mother Earth or anything.  Gardening by the moon phases means that you are working with nature rather than against it.

Gardening according to the phase of the Moon is a centuries old practice, practiced by ancient cultures the world over. It has been long known that the Moon has a strong effect on our planet and its’ inhabitants. Its gravitational pull guides the ocean tides as well as our own inner tides. Plants are no different, as with the sea and our bodies a plant’s water content is affected by the pull of the Moon. Same for the insect, weed, fungal, and bacterial pests that may be attacking your plants.

People long ago lived by the cycle of the Sun, Moon and the seasons. In today’s busy world many choose not to track the Moon phases and instead opt to purchase a farmer’s almanac. The Old Farmer’s Almanac and The Farmer’s Almanac both contain useful gardening sections that do all the planning for you. With these you have everything you need for growing a successful garden, flowerbed or orchard.

There are two methods of practice, one is by the Moon’s phase and the second is by the Moon’s phase as well as its placement in an astrological sign of the zodiac. I admit, I have always used the former in my garden.

The Moon’s month long cycle can be separated into two halves, the waxing and the waning. The first half of the monthly cycle is from just after the New Moon to the Full Moon. The Moon grows larger and brighter and it is this lighter half that stimulates growth in a plant. One common practice that has been used for centuries is to plant just after the New Moon as this gives the seed, plant or transplant two weeks of increasing, moonlight and gravitational influence to encourage germination and growth. Plants that flower and/or bear fruit above ground are best planted during the first quarter which is roughly a one week period from the day after the New Moon (or so) to the first quarter Moon. The first quarter to the Full Moon is the ideal time to plant brambly fruits such as blackberries, raspberries and the like. This first half is also the best time to water your plants. As the Full Moon nears harvest any juicy berries, succulent leafy greens or other veggies for their optimum water content. It is also best to harvest herbs at the Full Moon as their essential oils are strongest, fragrant flowers will have stronger scent too.

The waning Moon is the period from the day after the Full Moon to the New Moon, when the Moon grows smaller and the night skies are darker. This half of the Moon’s cycle discourages growth in plants. The third quarter, which is from just after the Full Moon to the last quarter, is the best time to plant trees, vines, as well as flowering bulbs and plants that bear fruit under ground (root vegetables). This phase of the Moon is beneficial to those plants which rely on strong root systems like trees, root vegetables and strawberries. The last quarter is best used to weed, till, thin seedlings and rid your garden of pests, take this last week to mulch your garden and get a handle on those weeds. By following this method you will find that once the garden is established you will be spending less time in the garden having to water and weed.

The second method of gardening involves planting and tending the garden according the zodiac sign that the Moon is passing through. For anyone unfamiliar with the astrological zodiac it consists of twelve signs/constellations in which the Moon passes through and spends a day or two in each sign during the lunar cycle, or month. The four elements each rule four zodiac signs. Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces are considered “water signs” and are the best time to plant most seeds and plants. While Cancer is the best, above ground plants put in at the time the Moon passes through any of these three signs will yield the best results. Air sign Libra is said to be best for planting flowering plants. The Earth signs of Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn are the second best choices for planting. Plant your root veggies when the Moon is in Capricorn or Taurus, Virgo is best left for weeding and tilling. Fire signs Leo, Sagittarius and Aries are also ideal for weeding, tilling, cleaning and ridding your garden of pests. Air sign Aquarius is good for harvesting and Gemini is also good for working the soil.

If all of this makes your head spin, then you can do what many people over the last two centuries have done. Pick up a copy of The Old Farmer’s Almanac and head to the Outdoor Planting Table section. Right there, at your fingertips, is a handy chart that tells you when to plant what. This method is also a great science experiment for you or your children. Plant two plants or seeds one at the ideal planting time and the second at a more “undesirable” time. Watch to see how these plants grow in comparison over the season. Will your plants wither and die if you plant them at the “wrong” time? Probably not. Your garden will still plug along, but you will lack the abundant harvest and lush growth that you could have had planting by the Moon.

Waxing

  • Sow plants that flower or bear fruit above ground (1st quarter)
  • Plant blackberries, raspberries and other caned plants (during 2nd quarter)
  • Water Plants
  • Feed Plants
  • Transplant
  • Nearest the Full Moon-harvest juicy fruits and greens. Herbs for optimum essential oil content, flowers for strong fragrance.

Waning

  • Sow root vegetables (3rd quarter)
  • Plant Trees and Saplings (3rd quarter)
  • Plant strawberries (3rd quarter)
  • Weed
  • Mulch
  • Thin seedlings
  • Divide plants
  • Harvest
  • Pruning
  • Hoe
  • Pest Control

© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Got Prickles? A Closer Look at Prime Blackberries


“Dear Horticulture Talk,

Thanks for being such a great blog.  I really enjoy your articles.  I was wondering you could help me out on a question.  I see that a lot of the seed catalogs are offering an everbearing set of blackberries.  Some have Ark, Jim, and Jan.  The descriptions sound nice, but do you know if they are thornless.  We’ve tried thornless blackberreis in the past, but the deer eat them down to the ground.  I’m hoping they aren’t because I love blackberries and havign them all the time would be nice.  Is there anything else that makes them different to grow?  I know you grow June and Everbearing strawberries different.  Is it like that with blackberries?  Do you have more info than the little paragraph that they have in the catalogs, because each catalog has just about the same paragraph?

Thank you for your thoughts and I’m happy to be one of your fans.

Sincerely,

Buddy Miller

Waupaca, WI”

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Hi Buddy,

Thank you for your kind comments.  I’m glad to know that there is at least one fan out there.  Woot!  Okay, just kidding, but all the same it is good to know that people are doing more than just glancing once at my blog.

The Prime® Everbearing Blackberries Series (Rubus fruticosus) are definitely something to get excited about.  As a kid, I remember blackberry picking quite fondly.  About 1 1/4 miles from home was the homesite of my great aunt and uncle.  Back in the 1910s-1960s, the homesite had been a prosperous farm.  My great aunt and uncle were never blessed with any children, so after they passed away the land was sold to a gentleman that owned much of the land around and had it set up as tree farms.  The back pastures were put into trees and the buildings, small woods around them, and a large ‘bowl’/kettle were left to go wild.  The tree farm land bordered my parent’s land, and as they knew the gentleman, we were granted permission to cross country ski, hunt, or do pretty much whatever we wanted on the land.  The large bowl provided lots of winter sledding memories, the buildings were always great for pictures or maybe digging up a sprig of an old perennial that still grew in my great aunt’s old flowerbeds, and the woods… well, the woods were FULL of blackberries.  The places was famous in the area as everyone and their brother went there to pick berries.  While many probably did not have permission to be there, it was okay because there were more than enough berries to go around.  Unfortunately, the gentleman got a bit greedy in the late 90s and took out the buildings and woods/berries and put more trees in there too.  As of the past summer, though, the blackberries have come back enough to be a force to be reckoned with in the trees!

But, I digress.  Let’s get back to the Primes®!

There are three types of Prime® Blackberries: Prime-Ark® 45, Prime Jim®, and Prime Jan®.  To break them down into a bit more detail:

–Prime-Ark® 45:  

Type – Primocane-fruiting; thorny, erect.

Date of Release – 2009; Plant Patent Applied For

Fruit Size – Fruits of Prime-Ark®45 are medium-large, averaging 6 g or more in most trials measuring floricane fruits in Arkansas. In trials in Oregon and California, primocane fruits were just over 7 grams and near 9 grams, respectively. In Arkansas, primocane fruits are smaller, usually 4 to 5 grams.

Flavor/Sweetness – Average soluble solids (a measurement of sweetness) of Prime-Ark® 45 was near 10%, just under that of Ouachita. In additional measurements in other plantings and years, soluble solids of 10 to 11% have been measured on floricane fruits of Prime-Ark® 45. Primocane fruit soluble solids levels have achieved 12%. Overall fruit flavor ratings for Prime-Ark® 45 were higher than the previous primocane-fruiting releases, and were near that of Ouachita.

Yield – Fruit yields have been very good in trials of Prime-Ark® 45. Most of the yield evaluation in Arkansas has been done on floricanes, and in research trials, floricane yields of Prime-Ark® 45 exceeded Prime-Jim® and were comparable to thornless, floricane-fruiting varieties. For primocane yields, data from Arkansas showed higher yields for Prime-Ark® 45 compared to Prime-Jim®. In observational plots in California and Oregon, primocane yields were very good.

Maturity Date – Floricane first harvest date for Prime-Ark® 45 is June 9 in Arkansas, 4 days after Prime-Jim® and Natchez and 4 days before Ouachita. Primocane first bloom date for Prime-Ark® 45 is usually about 2 weeks later than that for Prime-Jan® and Prime-Jim® Likewise, primocane fruit ripens 2-3 weeks later for Prime-Ark® 45 compared to Prime-Jan® and Prime-Jim®, averaging August 8. In California, ripening of primocane fruit was in late August and in Oregon was mid September. This later primocane fruit ripening date should be noted as the harvest date may be an issue in northern areas to complete the fruit ripening period. Likewise this later ripening date could be a major asset for production in areas where later fruiting is desired.

Disease Resistance – No orange rust observed and only slight anthracnose observed. No information available concerning resistance to double blossom/rosette.

Comments – Prime-Ark® 45 is primarily intended to provide a high quality berry with excellent postharvest handling to allow production of berries for local and shipping markets in the late summer to fall fruiting season in areas where it is adapted. Summer temperatures above 85oF can reduce fruit set and quality on primocanes. Performance of Prime-Ark® 45 in primocane fruiting has exceeded that of Prime-Jim® and Prime-Jan® in Arkansas, and may offer enhanced adaptation to higher heat conditions. However, only trial plantings are recommended to determine full adaptation to specific locations.

–Prime-Jim®:  

Type – Primocane-fruiting; thorny, erect.

Date of Release – 2004; plant patent #16989.

Fruit Size – Floricane fruit average 5 g; primocane fruit vary by location grown, from 3 to 10 g in various trials.

Flavor/Sweetness – Good, similar to other thorny varieties; soluble solids (percent sugar) averages 8%.

Yield –  Floricane yields comparable to floricane-fruiting thorny and thornless varieties such as Apache and Ouachita; exceeds Arapaho in floricane yield. Primocane yields vary greatly by location, from very high in the Willamette Valley of Oregon to very low at Hope, Arkansas.

Maturity Date – Floricane fruit ripens beginning approximately June 3 at Clarksville, Arkansas, and fruiting extends for about four weeks. Floricane ripening season is near that of Arapaho. Primocane fruit begins ripening approximately July 17 at Clarksville and Sept. 1 in Oregon. Primocane fruiting can continue until frost depending on summer and fall temperatures. Fruit development to maturity may not be completed in more northern areas of the U.S.

Disease Resistance – Floricanes susceptible to double blossom/rosette, but primocanes avoid this disease since the disease does not appear until the second season on the canes. No orange rust observed and only slight anthracnose observed.

Comments – Recommended only for home garden use and very limited commercial trial. Not recommended for storage nor shipping. Hardiness similar to other Arkansas thorny varieties. Summer temperatures above 85F can greatly reduce fruit set, size and quality on primocanes; this results in substantial reductions in yield and quality of fruits in areas with this temperature range in late summer and fall. Seed size small, ave. 2.1 mg/seed.

–Prime-Jan®:  

Type – Primocane-fruiting; thorny, erect.

Date of Release – 2004; plant patent #15,788.

Fruit Size – Floricane fruit average 5 g; primocane fruit vary by location grown, from 3 to 15 g in various trials.

Flavor/Sweetness – Good, similar to other thorny varieties; soluble solids (percent sugar) averages 9.6%.

Yield –  Floricane yields comparable to floricane-fruting thorny and thornless varieties such as Apache and Ouachita; usually exceeds Arapaho in floricane yield. Primocane yields vary greatly by location, from very high in the Willamette Valley of Oregon to very low at Hope, Arkansas.

Maturity Date – Floricane fruit ripens beginning approximately June 8 at Clarksville, Arkansas, and fruiting extends for about four weeks. Floricane ripening season begins just after that of Arapaho. Primocane fruit begins ripening approximately July 18 at Clarksville and Sept. 1 in Oregon. Primocane fruiting can continue until frost depending on summer and fall temperatures. Fruit development to maturity may not be completed in more northern areas of the U.S.

Disease Resistance – Floricanes susceptible to double blossom/rosette, but primocanes avoid this disease since the disease does not appear until the second season on the canes. No orange rust observed and only slight anthracnose observed.

Comments – Recommended only for home garden use and very limited commercial trial. Not recommended for storage nor shipping. Hardiness similar to Choctaw and Arapaho, but has shown some late winter cane injury in some years. Summer temperatures above 85F can greatly reduce fruit set, size and quality on primocanes; this results in substantial reductions in yield and quality of fruits in areas with this temperature range in late summer and fall.

So, no matter which variety you choose, those deer better be on the look out or else they are going to have a very sore mouth!

I hope this information helps you out, and again, thanks for reading!

*** Information provided in this article comes from Randy at AgriStarts of Apopka, FL and from the University of Arkansas Extension.  To get more information on any of the Prime® Blackberries, please check out their website at www.agristarts.com and http://www.aragriculture.org, respectively.

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Recipe of the Week: Raspberry Fig Newtons


This recipe can also be modified with blueberries, blackberries, mulberries, or strawberries as the filling.

Ingredients:

Filling:

  • 1 cup dried figs, chopped
  • 1 pint fresh raspberries
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • zest of 1 orange

Cookie Dough:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 egg white, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour

Combine butter and sugar in mixer and beat until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes).  Add egg white, zest and vanilla extract and beat until you have a smooth texture.  Scrape down sides of bowl, add flour and beat until everything is mixed together.  Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for two hours.

Combine figs, raspberries, water, apple juice and sugar and bring to a boil.  Once it reaches a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer until figs are soft (make sure to stir figs occasionally so they do not scorch the bottom of pan).  When figs are done, the water/apple juice mixture will have cooked off and will be thick and sticky.  Remove from heat, place in separate bowl and cool to room temperature.  When cool, transfer to food processor or blender and blend until it resembles a smooth paste.

Take chilled dough from refrigerator and roll out onto flour-dusted work surface to a very thin rectangle (go for 16 inches long and 12 inches wide).  Spread fig filling along one length of dough and roll to other side.  Gently transfer to parchment covered baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes or until they are puffed and golden brown along the edges.  Transfer to wire rack and let cool.  When cool, cut into little squares and enjoy!!!!!

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Recipe of the Week: Triple Berry Crisp


This is a wonderful berry crisp. I’ve used a triple berry mixture of raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries, but just one works well too! Serve it with whipped cream and it looks great.
INGREDIENTS:
1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries
1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
4 tablespoons white sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups butter
DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. In a large bowl, gently toss together blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, and white sugar; set aside.
3. In a separate large bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cut in butter until crumbly. Press half of mixture in the bottom of a 9×13 inch pan. Cover with berries. Sprinkle remaining crumble mixture over the berries.
4. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until fruit is bubbly and topping is golden brown. 

 

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.