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Thursday, August 6, 2015

Weeds? Two ways to grow blackberries

These two pictures show vastly different approaches to growing blackberries.

First, in a well-tended home garden (so, obviously one belonging to neighbor!):

The gardener installed two metal stakes, about four feet above ground, with chicken wire running vertically the length between them to make a fence. Blackberry canes are grown in two rows, one on each side of the chicken wire fence. The canes are further supported by thick, insulated cording (here, the turquoise cords) running horizontally the length of the fence. The cords are spaced a foot apart. The tops of the canes are unfettered; they bend down gracefully with the growing fruit. This framework allows easy harvest from both sides of the structure.




Second, wild in the Pacific Northwest:


Blackberries cost a pretty penny in my part of the world, so I never believed my friend's assessment that these plants are weeds in her home town in Washington. Then I took a trip to Oregon and saw for myself. Not only were blackberries growing along the road and in every ditch, I also saw them growing in rocks at a pier. The cords here are not a trellis at all -- they're to keep people from falling in the ocean! I bet the locals are sick of blackberries.

Just goes to show that weeds are all a matter of perspective. What "weeds" are your favorite?

2 comments:

David said...

Jennifer, the berry weed in Nebraska is a tree. The Mulberry tree produces berries very similar to the blackberry. Birds love the berries and indulge for the several weeks of berry harvests. Then as they sit on the urban chain link fences, not only do that drop the seeds that have passed through the digestion process but they are fertilized as well. They are a nuisance tree but the berries are quite delicious and make the best wine. Most are wild scrub trees and can be quite messy on the ground under the tree during berry season. Mulberry trees can get quite big and some actually grow to be 50 to 60 feet tall. I cut a branch off the Mulberry tree at Terra Nova Gardens (my main garden) and counted 60 rings until I reach the eight inch hollow center. I figure the tree is over 100 years old. I always have intention to pick and use the berries but the harvesting time is at the end of June which is a garden busy time. I'm finding out that many of the natural weeds in my garden are totally edible. A weed is just a plant growing where the gardener doesn't want it to grow. Maybe some day the gardener will actually live with nature instead of trying to control it. :-)

Have a great blackberry day.

NOT THAT KIND OF FARMER said...

Very good article... keep sharing