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Blackberries - soil amendments for berry quality

Discussion in 'Fruits & Vegetables' started by Clarity1210, Jun 10, 2019.

  1. Jun 10, 2019
    Clarity1210

    Clarity1210 Chillin' In The Garden

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    I have a couple of thornless blackberry bushes here in north Texas, and it's been a great summer for them. I've been getting loads of fairly large berries and expect a couple more weeks of the same. I've had no problem sharing for fresh eating (they disappeared quickly at work), and they make amazing jam, but I'd love to get a sweeter berry. A few are sweet but most are on the tarter side. I envy those big, juicy tender berries of the northwest! Totally different climate here, of course. My question is, do any of you have experience with soil amendments or fertilizing that helps with blackberries?
     
  2. Jun 11, 2019
    flowerbug

    flowerbug Garden Addicted

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    letting the berries ripen as much as possible before picking.

    i am not a blackberry grower so i looked around. have you heard of the Navaho variety?

    anyways, it looks like a lower pH, enough organic material along with well drained loam will help along with full sunshine.
     
  3. Jun 11, 2019
    Beekissed

    Beekissed Garden Master

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    I always got sweeter tomatoes when using a little horse manure as a side dressing....might want to see if you can get your hands on some really good, aged horse manure. I bet some bunny poop may be just as good.
     
  4. Jun 11, 2019
    ducks4you

    ducks4you Garden Master

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    DON'T AMEND!!! My mother bought me 2 blackberry THORNED bushes. I planted them where I now have a cleaned up bed, for tomatoes in 2019. I had been adding compost to this bed for years and ALL I got from these berry plants was leaves and thorns...and thorns...and thorns...
    There was NEVER much fruit, and what fruit there was went to the wild birds.
    Some plants do better in poor soil.
    BTW, I am cleaning up my fenceline on the south of the yard and I discovered a volunteer red raspberry bush. It has more fruit on it then I EVER saw on my bushes that rambled all over the 20 some feet along the south of the garage, so I am leaving it for my neighbor and me to enjoy and I saw down and rip up what shouldn't be growing there.
    Just "food" for thought.
     
  5. Jun 13, 2019 at 2:31 PM
    Clarity1210

    Clarity1210 Chillin' In The Garden

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    I appreciate y'all's feedback. The variety I have is Natchez. I figure in a year or two I'll plant another variety for contrast. They are in full sun, the ground seems to be well aerated by moles, earthworms and snakes (small brown ones)' and my chickens do a pretty good job of fertilizing the area. I know what you mean about some plants flourishing in poor soil, ducks4you. And I have noticed some have been sweet - so maybe just irrigating during berry ripening, together with leaving the berries on for a full day once completely darkened would do it. The wildlife (and chickens) still visit but seem less interested now, I notice - yay for productivity!
     
  6. Jun 13, 2019 at 3:16 PM
    Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Garden Master

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    Blackberries supposedly do better on less fertile ground from what I've read. And watering them can be important, don't forget to do that later in the year when it turns hot and dry, they can die. I found that out in Arkansas.

    But if the raccoons and birds will let you, let them ripen a day or two more. There is a huge difference in sweetness or tartness of a berry that has just turned compared to one that has really ripened. Think green apple versus a ripe one. The individual drupelets (I had to look that up) are often larger and juicier when the berry is ripe. On that stains your finger when you pick it should be overripe which I like.
     
  7. Jun 13, 2019 at 4:33 PM
    Gardening with Rabbits

    Gardening with Rabbits Garden Addicted

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    I have Triple Crown, Apache and another with thorns, and I think it is Comanche. The Triple Crown are way, way, way sweeter than Apache. The Comanche are not bad. When I pick the Triple Crown, if it comes off easy in my hand it usually goes in my mouth. If I pulled just a little I know it is not going to be so sweet. They are at the edge of my garden so they get a lot of water. I do nothing to them. I wonder if their roots do go into the garden some, but some have spread away from the garden and there is no manure or anything where they are, so I think the variety does matter.
     
    flowerbug, ducks4you and Clarity1210 like this.
  8. Jun 15, 2019 at 3:23 PM
    seedcorn

    seedcorn Garden Master

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    Had blackberries by garden. Decades later still trying to irradicate.
     
  9. Jun 15, 2019 at 3:47 PM
    ducks4you

    ducks4you Garden Master

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    @seedcorn , it is not impossible, but you will really need to dig them out. Some of their roots go further than a spade's length, so you dig deeper. If you own a pair of welder's gloves which I RECOMMEND for gardening jobs where you can rip up your hands and arms, you can pull some of the younger stems right out of the ground. Remember, you can save a "to go" cup with the lid, use a child's watercolor paintbrush and paint on herbicide if they are growing in between stuff you like.
    I have spent 3 years killing mine, the thorned variety, and they have been sending runners around to the back of the garage and into the gravel drive in front of the garage. I will let you know if I find any more of them, and then there shall be death.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2019 at 3:58 PM
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  10. Jun 15, 2019 at 4:30 PM
    seedcorn

    seedcorn Garden Master

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    I dig them out. Pull roots 2-3’ Long out (I’m on sand/gravel), and paint them. I’m gaining but they are still there.. iF i want blackberries, I’ll buy them....
     
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