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Growing Good Food at Home

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Growing Blackberries in Open Land, in Containers, or in Raised Beds

Blackberries in open land.

Blackberries in open land.

When first planning where to plant your blackberry bramble, you should consider the type of land you can tend. If you have a large outside plot of land with the right soil and the right conditions for watering and draining, you might have the ideal situation for planting directly in the ground. If, however, your soil is too sandy or not the right composition, you might want to consider planting in raised beds or in containers or pots. Converting your open-land plot into a usable garden might involve a lot of time and effort better spent considering raised beds or containers.

Growing blackberries in pots

If you don’t have the space for growing in open land or in raised beds—let’s say you live in an apartment with no land of your own for a garden, for example—you can grow blackberries in containers or pots on your balcony, porch, patio, or deck. This is also a sure-fire way to keep enthusiastic blackberry plants from taking over your garden!

One great advantage to container gardening is the ability to move plants around more easily to maximize their exposure to the sun.

    • Tip: If you have trouble moving pots around, because they’re too heavy or too bulky, try putting your pots on slightly raised rolling casters so you can more easily move them around your space.

Be sure to choose the right cultivar for container-grown blackberries. Although any variety can be grown in a pot, thornless varieties are easiest to grow in small spaces, for obvious reasons. Some of these are Chester, Natchez, and Triple Crown (see the Plant Profiles section for more information).

Also, erect berry varieties that do not require trellising are ideal for pots. These include Arapaho, Kiowa, and Ouachita.

It’s important to choose the right pot, too. A container that’s 5 gallons or larger with room for at least 6 inches of soil is ideal. Roots spread out rather than down, so a shallow container will work as long as you allow the air space for canes to develop above ground.

Growing blackberries in raised beds

Creating raised beds for your blackberry garden can be a lot of work the first time you set up your beds, but having raised beds allows you more control over your growing environment. You’ll discover that watering, irrigation, weeding, and even harvesting are much easier, with items closer to your reach and contained in a space that is more manageable than growing in open land. Raised beds also help keep your blackberry plants contained, though pruning will definitely be required to keep your plants fitting into the bed.

Once you create your raised beds the first time, subsequent years will be easier.

To create nicely contained raised beds for your blackberries, enclose your beds with wooden sides at least eight inches high—this will help keep the bed together, be tall enough, and make irrigation easier, too.

With raised beds, your garden is less likely to contain the seeds of weeds that are often found in garden soil. You’ll minimize the incidence of weeds overall, which will save you time and effort later. Weeding itself is much easier with raised beds, because you don’t have to get down so far on the ground to remove weeds.

    • Annual Tip: To optimize the soil in your raised beds, be sure to amend your soil with composting at least once a year—otherwise, your soil can become less productive for your plants.

When growing blackberries in raised beds, space plants out 3 to 4 feet for erect blackberries, and 6 to 8 feet apart for trailing blackberries.

Where do you grow your blackberries? Please share your experiences with us in the comments.

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