Foraging Blackberries...

Whether I've liked it or not, blackberries (and dewberries) have been inching up through our woods and garden beds for years.  I've been cutting out their sprawling stickers every year, but this year instead of ripping away...I'm eating them first.  I've really been trying to identify and use what can be foraged and feed us right here on our land...a real farm to table experience.  So far, blackberries haven't amounted to more than a sprinkle on top my morning cereal...but what a treat.

And, perfectly timed, I read this really interesting post by @rouses_horticulture that explains how to incorporate blackberries in your landscape.  I definitely will be taking this approach to pruning...

Blackberries are by far one of the easiest fruit crops to grow in south Louisiana, but a lack of understanding keeps some gardeners from incorporating this wonderful fruit into their landscape. Some gardeners avoid planting these easily controllable crops because they tend to have a reputation for getting out of control; creating a bramble jungle. Understanding the growth cycle and proper pruning of blackberries is critical to increasing the yield of your crop. Blackberries have crowns that produce biennial shoot. These shoots live for two years and then die. The shoots that emerge the first year are called the primocanes. In the second year of growth, the shoots are called floricanes. These floricanes will produce flowers that mature into fruit. Understanding that blackberries produce their crop on the last year’s growth and that canes only live for two years will help explain the pruning procedure.
Our thorny friend is also a host for some butterflies and moths, including Western Tiger Swallowtail, Mourning Cloak, Gray Hairstreak, and Spring Azure.  The flowers are an excellent nectar source for a wide array of pollinators...which in turn will make all the berries!

Happy Growing,