Autumn is a time when the forest gives us exquisite, demanded and expensive fruits due to the little permanence among us. An example is mushrooms and in this case we will talk about the blackberry. Thorny shrub that covers the edges of roads and shady forests, whose fruits, blackberries, ripen during the summer to be sweetened in these months. Today we see the keys to grow the blackberry in a controlled way.
No need to look for her in the forest anymore!
MULBERRY BLACKBERRY AND BLACKBERRY BLACKBERRY
There is some confusion with the common name for blackberries. Blackberry is called indistinctly the fruit of the mulberry (tree) and the fruit of the blackberry (bush). They have nothing to do with each other. They don’t even share the genre that describes them. Mulberry trees are of the Morus genus , ( Morus nigra L. , Morus alba L.) among others.
However, the blackberry belongs to the genus Rubus sp. This small and delicious fruit is more related to raspberry than to mulberry. They share gender. We already saw the raspberry crop ( Rubus idaeus L. ) in its day . Another common name apart from the blackberry, black raspberry, reveals its relationship with a red relative.
SOME RELEVANT FACTS ABOUT THE BLACKBERRY
The genus Rubus is very extensive. In principle, we know the raspberry and blackberry although there are more than 250 species of this genus. One of the reasons is its ability to hybridize and propagate. Some can generate seed without the need to be pollinated. If we observe a little a feral area with blackberry, we will see that it makes its passage through inaccessible and it can be attributed a certain invasive nature even if it is not. It is more the sensation that it produces.
A curious fact about the blackberry is that it is not a fruit but an infrutescence composed of many drupes. Each grain of the blackberry is a fruit and all of them make up the fruitlessness called polydrupe.
The genus Rubus is present on all continents. Spain, even being one of the countries with the most fruit crops in Europe, we are not very given to the cultivation of fruits of the forest as other Central European countries can be . Outside of the old continent, Canada and the US are the countries with the highest production of berries of the Rubus genus.
Although they are very similar to raspberries, an important difference when it comes to cultivation is that the blackberry only has one annual harvest and the raspberry can have two, as we saw in its article.
Another advantage of this fruit is its early production capacity . Fruit trees take an average of 5 to 7 years to reach optimum production. Some even more. The blackberry can reach the optimum in the second year so the implantation costs are greatly reduced. It is a great advantage from a productive point of view.
CONSUMPTION AND USE OF BLACKBERRY
Like any other fruit of the forest, its freshly harvested consumption has something special that we all enjoy. However, the most common is to consume them once they have been transformed into tasty and aromatic jams and preserves that permeate all kinds of pastries.
Derivative drinks (liquors, juices …) are also common. Consumed fresh, they provide a large amount of vitamins A, B and C and minerals such as iron, magnesium and calcium, among others.
In fact they are considered antiscorbutic and antianemic. They are highly nutritious products.
BLACKBERRY GROWING GUIDE
First we must make a slight separation between the Mediterranean blackberry ( Rubus ulmifolius L. ) and the rest of the cultivated blackberries. The Mediterranean, as we can imagine, supports hotter climates than the varieties that are currently used for crops.
The climate to which most blackberries are used is usually humid temperate climate , therefore they are sensitive to heat and drought. You just have to observe where we are going to look for blackberries. Shady, humid and cool forests.
This gives us an idea of its optimal climatic conditions. In any case, a short period of hot weather during the summer is necessary for proper ripening. It is one of the main factors of greater or less production apart from the cold hours, which are also important, although more variable depending on the varieties.
They are not overly demanding of the soil. Just as the raspberry has some other peculiarities, the blackberry is somewhat more rustic and can support a little more variability. In any case, the crop varieties prefer typical forest soils.
Frank, moist, well drained and with a neutral pH or pulling towards a slight acidity.
In contrast, the Mediterranean blackberry supports better, alkaline soils with some humidity. As we have already mentioned, the genus Rubus is so extensive that the variations in edaphoclimatic needs vary greatly from one species to another.
GENERAL BLACKBERRY GROWING TIPS
TUTORING IS VITAL IF YOU WANT TO GROW
You may have already noticed the tangle of stems and branches that a blackberry forms when it grows feral. This is due to its ability to generate roots from the stems when they touch the ground . If we want to grow blackberry, it is essential to stalk the stems to prevent them from touching the ground and everything becomes entangled in such a way that its collection is impossible. We would be wasting production.
PRUNING, ANOTHER ESSENTIAL ASPECT
Summer pruning. When a blackberry branch has fruited, it dries up and becomes lignified. Therefore, pruning should be aimed at eliminating these branches immediately after harvesting. Another important aspect is topping (winter pruning) to favor early shoots that will give production in the following season.
THE KEY TO IRRIGATION. FREQUENT AND NOT VERY ABUNDANT
The root system does not go too deep into the soil. What’s more, it’s pretty shallow. Bearing this in mind, the waterings must be frequent and short. This is more important in flowering and fruit setting, as in many fruit crops. The drip irrigation system is usually the most indicated.
Finally, the multiplication of the blackberry should not pose any problem considering the capacities of its rooting stems. Outgoing stems of the mother plant that are put in the ground until they take root.
VARIETIES USED FOR ITS CULTIVATION
They are classified into spiny and unarmed varieties (without thorns)
- Variedades inermes: Black Satin, Dirksen, Evergreen, Loch Ness, Smoothstem, Thornfree, Aurora, Black Diamond, Thornless Evergreen, Darrow, etc.
- Variedades espinosas: Bedford Giant, Cherokee, Loganberry, Asthon Cross, Himalaya, Tupi, Runguer, Youngberry, Dewberry, Bailey, etc.