Monday, May 23, 2016

Blackberry Progress Report. 5.20.16

Ebony King Blackberry, planted February 2016.  5.21.16
These are the domesticated blackberry plants that I planted a few months ago.  It has been interesting to watch them, and I have learned a few things.

First, the Ebony King.  These were packaged dry-root starts from Lowes.
The stems were about pencil size, with minimal roots, packed in peat moss.  I planted them Feb 21st.  Of the 3 plants, one started growing in about March, one in April, and one just began growing now in late May.  So they all are alive and growing, and there is some chance for a taste next year.  These are floricane varieties that bloom and bear on the previous year's canes.  It pays not to give up, since one of the plants required 3 months to start to grow.

I need to get some protection on these, from marauding rabbits and deer.  They have not eaten the Ebony King Blackberry plants yet, which are not as perfectly thornless as Prime Ark Freedom, but I don't  want to take too many chances.  Damn rabbits.   Damn deer.

Second, the Prime Ark Freedom, thornless primocane blackberries from Starks.  These were expensive, and the plants were tiny.  They are growing nicely now, with one exception that is failing to thrive and still only a couple of inches tall.  Tow of the most vigorous were eaten half-way off by rabbits or deer, so now I have fencing sleeves on each plant.  Herbivores have not been eating the Himalayan invasive blackberries - possibly due to thorns, or there could be protective flavors that are lost in domestication.  These are primocane, so could potentially bear this year.  They have bloomed at only a few inches tall, but I removed the flowers so their photosynthetic energy goes to establishing roots, canes, and leaves.
Growth on Ebony King Blackberry, at 3 months.  5.21.16

Prime Ark Freedom Blackberry Plant, Planted Feb 2016.  5.21.16
The third is one plant of Columbia Star blackberry, bought in a one-gallon container at Yard - And - Garden - Land here in Vancouver, I think in March.  The plant was really a tiny tissue culture plant like the Prime Ark Freedom, planted in larger container for sale, I suppose.  Or to grow larger in the nursery pot. The Columbia Star is growing with the same vigor as Prime Ark Freedom.  Columbia Star is a trailing blackberry that will beed some support.  I have already built a frame for that, using 6 foot long tree limb prunings.


  1. Well, sometimes I wonder how some farmer can make a living growing berries when all the critters want to eat it. Its very hard work to protect the plant and then the harvest. I wouldn't plant out anything that small with rabbits running around. Once they are establish, they are very hardy and very easy to grow from cuttings. I got too many as now. Just need more room.....

  2. although I remember that I used to use a product called "Hinder" on my young apples back east in PA which worked quite well. Just spray it on.

  3. Lance, thanks, I'll have to remember that. Maybe it would help.