Here are 5 things I do at the end of the season after the blackberry harvest. 1. Prune the floricanes. 2. Tip the canes to encourage laterals. 3. Add compost/fertilizer. 4. Cane management – attach to trellis. 5. Blackberry propagation – Tip Layering.
Two methods of composting: 1. Trench Method – after my strawberries have finished producing for the season, I will start with direct composing. For a week or two, I will keep fruit and vegetable scraps in a plastic bag in the freezer. Once I’ve got a full bag, I’ll take what I have to the garden to be composted. I’ll dig a trench down the row where my strawberry plants were and then place them all inside the trench. Sometimes I’ll also add grass clippings on top and then move the soil back over. I do this at the end of the growing season so the materials will have at least 6 months to decompose before I re-plant in the spring. Check out my video above to see the process and how I built composting bins using free pallets.
2. Compost Piles – I received several free wooden pallets and used them to make a 3-bin composting system. Throughout the year, I’ll add grass clippings, fruit and vegetable scraps along with shredded paper, wood chips and other items. Then I will mix the pile every month or two and eventually flip the pile over to the next compost bin working it over the year to end up as good compost. Be sure to watch the video above and at the end you’ll see the final compost ready to be used.
One of my tip layered blackberry plants had roots growing from out of the bottom on the container. I cut the roots so I could move the tip layered blackberry plant and then dug up the large root and made 3 cuttings.
How to easily propagate your blackberry plants using suckers. Blackberry plants will send out roots under the soil that will spread out and send up suckers. These are new blackberry plants that will begin growing in that area. If they come up in an area that is good for your row or garden then you’re all set! If they pop up outside the row or garden then you have a few options.
1. Dig them up and transplant to another area of the row or garden. 2. Transplant them to a pot and grow them in containers. 3. Give them away to family, friends or neighbors. 4. Mow/Cut them down.
I’ve found tip layering to be the most successful way for me to propagate blackberry plants.
Below listed in order are the ways I find to be most successful for propagating blackberries:
1. Tip layering also called tip rooting. I do this most often and it is very simple. Place the tip of a cane in a small cup or pot and cover it with soil. In 4 weeks you can cut it from the main plant and hand it to someone else to plant in their own garden.
2. Blackberry suckers. Dig up the suckers and move them to a pot. Try to keep as much of the roots as you can. Make sure they get sufficient water after transplanting so they can grow their roots.
3. Serpentine layering. This works with trailing varieties of blackberries as they are easy to bend down into pots and over again to several more pots with a single cane.
4. Root cuttings. I’ve had some success with root cuttings but not as much as the top 3.
5. Cane cuttings. I have tried this method several times but have not had any success. I’ve tried keeping the cuttings indoors and outdoors in the shade. I’ve also tried keeping moisture in soil and misting the leaves but have yet to find the right combo to keep them alive. Thankfully, the other 4 methods work well for me!
Lessons learned: 1. Start bare root raspberries early in the season so they have time for the roots to get established. 2. When building a trellis – use 12 or 16 gauge wire or at least strong nylon string.
Watch my video above on planting bare root raspberries and how to build a simple inexpensive V trellis.
Here are 3 ways to help grow and support vertical growing in the garden. 1. Hammock Use a wide piece of hose or stocking to create a simple hammock to hold watermelon and cantaloupe on your trellis. 2. Inside mesh bags, hose or stockings. You can reuse the mesh bags that fruit came in from the store or hose to stockings to keep fruit up off the ground and on the trellis. 3. Cross method. Use 2 or more pieces of hose or stockings to create a hammock crossing over each other to hold larger fruit in place like watermelon. You can also use an old t-shirt as an alternative method for larger fruit like watermelon.
We had snow twice in 2021 and I wasn’t sure my garden would survive. I had newly tip layered blackberry plants in small pots now covered in snow. I also had new apple trees and a strawberry patch to protect. I used clear plastic containers to make some mini green houses to protect my celery and onion plants and this worked well. Check out the video above to see how it all worked out including the before and after.