Harvesting the beast! It’s Blackberry Season at Forever Foods Farm
Triple Crown thornless blackberry harvest first picking huge berries July 2022
getting the triple crown thornless blackberry plants going Mar 2022
These Triple Crown Blackberry plants were planted roughly three years ago. This is an update video on how they have grown and the berries that they are now producing.
Blackberry pruning, Triple Crown plants (taieri la mur fără spini)
I grow these in zone 9a South Texas they have been a heavy producer every year some times producing some berries till a freeze I would buy these again and again. Now mine started out just a few plants and is now a ton I use a trellis like a grape vine. Had one with thorns and one without the thrones one was a producer but my wife hated it. So I now only have the non thorned in that bed although I believe some of the thrones ones is coming back. They are fun to grow and to pick the birds love them too so plant plenty if you want some. When I bought them it said zone 9 now it says 8 they grow fine and produce heavy in zone 9a.
Today we're trying another blackberry variety here on the farm.
First off - for anyone thinking of planting 300 triple crown blackberry plants - check your mental state of mind first!!!
Last year after taking a 9 month position, I planted 300 (2yr old) triple crown blackberry plants to have a u-pick patch in order to make up some $$$ lost for taking this new position.
Planting the 300 plants - piece of cake!!!! Summer came and wow - I have a few berries to pick! Yep - they are good eating!!! This is good news for me for the upcoming u-pick. Then.....reality began setting in.....
Pruning....how, what, when, why.....over and over and over - so many different ideas, so many theories, so many options - which do I do...........
First - I must build a trellis....so - I have 9 rows that are each 200ft long. My end posts and middle of the row posts are all telephone poles....yep - strong and mighty!!!!
Now for the trellis wire.....keep in mind this is mostly my little project - my husband is really getting tired of all of my different "wonderful ideas" - so trying to find something that I can do by myself....so talk with a few Universities about monofilament wire for my trellis. After much calculating I came up with a plan and the University agreed it should work for my Triple Crowns. So, I have 3 wires of monofilament for the berries down each row. So, each row consists of a telephone end post, then t-post every 25ft, then a telephone post at the 100ft mark, and then t-post every 25 ft until we get to the end telephone post of the row. In total - I used 27 telephone posts, 54 t-post and the monofilament wire for the wiring.....all t-post and wiring was done by myself!!!!!
Now back to point of craziness....pruning and tying....
Pruned everything as I thought I should, tying up everything that moved with little green c-clips....we would get a wind....re-do it all, as the c-clips would come off of the tiny monofilament wire....mind you - each time I do the tying - it takes me about 2hrs per row...18 hrs for all 9 rows. I have done this twice now....then I get the brilliant idea after reading about the new modular trellis design - that maybe I need to run all of my laterals up and down instead of side to side...so, I un-do everything on each row, and re-do all of the rows......I have now clipped each row....3 times!!!!
The beast was tamed and the berries rippened this year...harvest is just wrapping up - we have been thru the worst drought this year - no rain for over 40 days - thankfully, I had installed drip irrigation tape down my rows - which saved alot of my berries - but along with the drought, we also had almost 2 weeks of 100+ degree weather....I lost quite a few berries to sunburn. My total production was not at all what I had expected, but again, my berries are only 3 years old, and have only been in the ground a little over a year and two months. The plants produced about 400 pounds of berries this year. Season was almost over and .....storm - lots of wind with a little rain....I walk out to DISASTER!!!! Any new canes that were not tied are leaning almost to the ground - oh my gosh - I am just wanting to mow these babies down!!! Actually today, I have been contemplating using the alternate year production with the berries...meaning I would just take every other row down to nothing and have the rows producing every other year - so each year I would have 4 rows or 5 rows of berries. Well, I have gotten ahold of myself and gathered my thoughts and re-read all of my notes from the Universities.......and this is where I am right now..... I have worked 6+ hours on my first two rows - taking out the plants that produced this year (all of those clips/bands must come out before the plant!!!!) and then I have also pruned and tied all of these 2 rows - I have thinned each plant down to 3 canes for next years production - I have read that 2 canes will outproduce 4 or 6 - but I have left one extra cane for the winter - spring I will pick the best two canes for each plant and prune out the "runt" cane and trim all laterals to 18 to 24".
I have a mess still in my remaining 7 rows and I am not looking forward at all to how many hours it is going to take me to get them all straightened out - ****note - for those thinking of Triple Crowns - their canes are extremely big and rigid - I lost quite a few in the wind - they are NOT flexible **** I try to pry them up as far as I feel comfortable doing - and then I just have to use a string to tie them to the trellis, instead of using my bands. On top of all of this - with the inch of rain we finally rec'd - I am needing to mow my rows in between the berries....well, I can't do that until they are put back into order......OMG!!!
Thanks all for letting me vent today - I am feeling quite overwhelmed after being out there today.....have I mentioned that I also planted 300 joan j raspberry plants this spring too.......not only do I have my mess with the blackberries - I have a mess of weeds with the raspberries. The rows are mulched with straw - so that has helped tremendously - but the blackberries are taking ALL OF MY TIME......poor neglected raspberries!!!!
Stay tuned - I will have to post a picture of the blackberries once I get them picked back up, pruned, thinned, spent ones removed, mowed.......yep, I will be back in a few months!!!! LOL