You can grow your own blackberries at home fairly easily. The first step is to choose the location where you will plant them and prepare the soil. Blackberries require a lot of sunlight, so pick a sunny spot where the soil is well-drained. Blackberries can grow in a variety of soil conditions, from sandy to clay and will grow even in soil that is nutrient-poor. The pH of the soil is best between 6.0 and 7.0 but blackberries can often tolerate even very acidic soil. The main thing is to loosen enough soil so that the roots have plenty of room and keep it moist.
Do not plant your blackberries in your garden near other plants. Blackberries have a tendency to spread and take over whatever space is available. You should plant the blackberries far enough away from other garden plants that they will not overrun them. The plants should be placed at least two feet apart, and there should be at least seven feet between rows.
After you plant your blackberries, you’ll need to prune them to about six inches and give them some water. They will also need some fertilizer right after they are planted. In subsequent years, fertilize the plants once per year in the spring.
It is a good idea to provide trellises to support your blackberry plants. This will help the canes support the plant’s weight. You should begin pruning the canes during their second year of growth, in the fall. Make sure you trim the sprouts and suckers enough to keep your plants from spreading in between the rows. Cut off dead canes and reduce the number of canes to about four per row. Any canes over seven feet in height should also be trimmed.
Although blackberry bushes normally don’t produce fruit the first year they are planted, they will keep producing berries for 15-20 years if properly cared far. Unlike wild blackberries, which have small fruits, most cultivated blackberries produce large, plump berries. The berries are ready to pick when they are a deep red or purple, almost black in color.
With your own blackberry bushes, you can be harvesting this delicious fruit from late July until as late as November in some climates. You can eat the berries raw straight from the bush or use them to make pies, jam or other items. Be sure to freeze some of the harvested blackberries so you can enjoy them all year round.