Loch Ness blackberries

by Adam Pasco

At last something is going right in my kitchen garden! My blackberry crop is fantastic and to avoid a painful harvest I only grow thornless blackberries.

blackberries Every few days I'm picking handfuls of gigantic, sweet, succulent blackberries. They're delicious, and if I have time in the morning before dashing off to catch my train to the Gardeners' World office in London, I rush down to the bottom of my garden (in my pyjamas) and pick off the fattest, ripest berries to put on my bowl of breakfast cereal. What a great start to the day.

To avoid a painful harvest I only grow thornless blackberries, and have trained two of my favourites, Loch Ness and Adrienne, on a post and wire support in front of my greenhouse.

The wet June weather has had two effects. Firstly there is a lovely crop of healthy new canes developing from the base that I'm training in. These will carry next year's crop. Secondly the fruits this year are growing bigger than ever thanks to the generous supply of moisture available.

Unlike some fruits that all ripen together, blackberries ripen over several weeks. With so many brilliant red fruits still visible I know I can look forward to more pickings for breakfast well into September.

Just one job for next weekend...I must bury the tips of a couple of canes in the soil. These will root by a process called tip layering to produce new plants that I can give away to friends.

Thankfully the local blackbirds haven't made too many raids on my crop this year (so far). I haven't strung up any netting - my usual means of keeping them away - but this has made it easier for me to get at the fruits. Not that I mind sharing my crops with the local garden wildlife...but I do appreciate it when they leave some for me!

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Gardeners' World Web User 08/09/2007 at 01:06

Whilst I don't have any in my garden, I am surrounded by country hedgerows which are full of juicy blackberries (or brambles as we know them in Scotland). However, other visitors and tourists to my rural haven are also aware of this wonderful crop and always come armed with bowls and bags to pick this crop! My only gripe is will they leave me enough for my Apple and Blackberry Crumble!!

Gardeners' World Web User 08/09/2007 at 09:13

Funny but the blackberry that I bought from Crocus said it was a semi evergreen bush but from the sound of it is the same as yours. It madly trails down the fence and is a least 15 foot long with loads of fabulous tasty fruits especially this year. I tend to pick them and put them straight into the freezer unless I am going to eat them straight away.

Gardeners' World Web User 10/09/2007 at 15:37

Brambles do have a superb flavour, don't they Margaret. However, do find space for a thornless blackberry like 'Loch Ness' if you can. It's such a pleasure to pick the fruits without getting scratched, and the individual fruits are far bigger.

Gardeners' World Web User 27/09/2007 at 14:33

We went to collect blackberries from our favorite spot yesterday, only to find that the fruits were all brown and shrivelled. I have never seen this before. There was no evidence of weedkiller having been sprayed. Has anyone else come across this phenomenon?

Gardeners' World Web User 08/10/2007 at 21:04

do u have to cut these blackberrys back in october?

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