Filled with a number of vitamins and minerals, blackberries provide a delicious treat eaten raw or incorporated into a wide selection of recipes. Blackberries contain vitamins A, C and E along with select B vitamins, copper, manganese and potassium. Consumers find these delightful fruits in grocery stores, farmer’s markets or at any location selling organic produce.
As commercially sold berries are typically quite pricey, many garden enthusiasts grow blackberry plants in backyard spaces. Disease and pest resistant, blackberry plants grow in a wide variety of soils and remain active under diverse environmental climates. Different species of plants provide fruit that varies from thimble sized to golf ball sized. Depending on particular species, plants may produce fruit from May to November.
Blackberry plants come in either erect or trailing varieties. Erect blackberry plants have a central sturdy stalk called a cane and grow in soil or in potted containers. The trailing variety establishes a bush like growth pattern. Both types develop root systems that travel underground and sprout new sucker plants. When beginning a blackberry crop, plant young shoots in warm soil at a depth sufficient to prevent root bending. Space plants at least two feet apart and rows six to seven feet apart.
The plants typically produce fruit during the second year. Once done producing fruit for the year, the stalks of the cane variety die and produce new canes. Having rapid growth patterns comparable to weeds, blackberry plants require pruning during the fall. Thin existing bushes or canes and remove any sucker plants sprouting in undesirable locations. The fruit bearing process begins with small, white flowers that transform into the berry. Blackberries mature from red to a rich purple black color when ripe. When mature, the berries easily drop or detach from the plant.
Homemade Blackberry Cobbler
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
3 cups fresh berries
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup flour
Mix flour and milk until you have a paste. Pour sugar and berries over paste. Put chips of butter over top (or drizzle)...add vanilla ice cream for a mouth watering dessert