The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Choosing and pruning blackberries

BlackberriesTrick number one for growing great blackberries is choosing the right variety for your climate.  Daddy gave me some starts of his Navaho and Arapaho berries that grew like gangbusters in his South Carolina garden, but they were a bust here. 

After three years with no fruits, I ripped Daddy's  berries out and replaced them with some unnamed blackberries from the midwife who delivered my sister.  My new blackberries produced huge, beautiful berries...and also extended their primocanes for twenty feet along the trellis in each direction.  Now that's a blackberry that likes our climate!

Blackberries after pruning

Rooted blackberry caneSince I neglected to summer tip the blackberries at three feet tall to promote branching, my winter pruning involved cutting out last year's dead canes and then whacking off about 75% of the living canes.  I didn't have the heart to prune them quite as hard as I probably should have --- the photo above is the after pruning shot.

Several of the canes had touched the ground and produced massive root structures, and I dug up about a dozen of the best ones to expand my blackberry patch.  I also cut the tops off the everbearing raspberries, pruned out the old floricanes on the other raspberries, trained the grapes onto their trellises, and cut out the dead bits on the blueberries.  Our woody perennials are now all pruned --- a good thing too since the blueberries are already thinking of leafing out.

Chick season is upon us!  Be sure to start them off right with a poop-free chicken waterer.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Thanks for the info!

I felt good and industrious just reading that post! It feels good to be getting things done, doesn't it?

Comment by Wed Mar 17 09:12:05 2010
It sure does! I try not to post lists of "things I did today" too often, but sometimes it's hard to resist. :-)
Comment by anna Wed Mar 17 12:16:04 2010

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