Extending the blackberry season


I have a juice bar and a winery that wanted blackberries this year I didn’t have. Blackberries are easy to get rid of once they are out of the field. They sell for a great price! We keep gallons and eat them over the winter made into pies, juice etc. .Speak of winter I’m glad we are finally getting some moisture!


Let’s see if I have this straight. If I cut my PAF blackberries to the ground in the fall, I will have an earlier fall crop the next year, but no summer one? And I should tip 1 foot tall primocanes by an inch to have more berries and it won’t cause them to bear later?


The flavor isn’t as good as Triple Crown, but it is nice to have blackberries still ripening in late October. In fact, the plants are still flowering, so I imagine they could produce almost indefinitely under the right conditions (greenhouse?). Maybe I’ll pot one up and bring it indoors to grow in the living room next winter.


Had a 101 prime ark 45’s show up today. I will let you know how they do, I purchased from a seller I have not purchased from before. I healed them in today and will plant them permanently ASAP. I wanted to post how they were shipped, packaged etc… once they start growing I will show how they do when fall planted. You can see the area I cleared to plant them.



in a few years, you will have fruits up to your ears.



I really need to get as much of the blackberry market as I can since people are asking for them. It’s wide open right now since there is a constant shortage. Raspberries are the same way.


Thought someone might like to see the Pense prime ark 45 plants. I ordered 101 plants so he may have sent me some great plants since I order a fair amount of them. Definitely takes some digging for some of them.



Didya get em all planted? How much spacing did you give them?

I don’t know what BB bareroot are supposed to look like. Do they look OK to you?

You’re one busy fellow, what with planting all those BB’s and putting up a barn at the same time. Hope you’re getting enough rest in between!


That’s not the half of the story when it comes to busy. The plants look fine to me and i will still be planting them tomorrow. On spacing I went roughly 3-5 feet between plants depending on how good the soil was and 10’ or so between rows. Most plants have 4’ between them in the rows. It should be a beautiful patch in a few years if I keep it mowed pretty good. You never can really say how things will turn out. See the picture above where one of those plants had roots longer than my shovel handle!


There are several great varieties available for those considering extending the blackberry season such as traveler, 45, and freedom as many of you are aware that were produced by the AAES. Now that I have 45 and Freedom planted I’m looking hard at traveler test crops. For those of you not familiar with the AAES breeding program here is a link https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvh2OBjP2yVD_GL-XfcVDDQ.
The videos below are very interesting in regards to extending the blackberry season. The videos below explain primocane vs floricane and the significant impact weather has on these varieties. Timing of the harvest and firmness of fruit are important for commercial growers like myself. Note that 45’s have thorns but they are the variety I’m most interested in at this time.

The biggest concern I have is if we have a bad winter and it kills the canes to the ground will I get a crop in the fall? If I get a berry that may only be zone 6b compatible which may be the case with traveler will it still be useful for me to grow it as a single fall crop berry? These are questions I may only answer with test crops.


Is that Sudan grass straw you are planting into ?


No it’s a ragweed that grows here that is an annual that makes a really good organic matter for the soil. Retains moisture really well. It’s better if it’s rolled into the soil deep but that would bring up other weed seeds so I didn’t do that. I’m going to top dress with wood chips later. I worked in about 50 loads of manure and half a dozen large loads of biochar. I’ve been working on improving this soil for about 5 years. I’ve deep tilled it once 2 years ago. The soil is fairly rich now.


What would shipping be for an acre or 2 of that soil ,delivered and spread ,to WV.?
That looks impressive. Good job.


Thank you I will post pictures in the spring when the berries start to take off and let you know how they do the first year. I’m going to salt the soil first with composted wood chips by the plants to get the fungus content up on the soil before i put down fresh wood chips. The picture below i took earlier this year shows the type of compost I will be using to get the fungus established in the soil.9b0507fa8b63fc4b44e8511917e617189b02c990_1_690x920


That soil looks great Clark! Plantings look great too!


Please let us know how bad the thorns are on your new primocane plants.

The thorns on the older Arkansas varieties were terrible.

They were so bad that some years we did not cut out the old canes.


Thank you let’s hope the blackberries like there new home! The soil is extremely rich! The plants should send out runners to fill up the rows pretty quick. I’m going to see how this 100 berries perform before I plant more. I’m monitoring my prime ark freedom test crop and seeing how it does in soil that has no additional manure added. I did not add wood chips to the freedom test plants until this fall and they have performed great. The soil and B.B. plant genetics are the key to everything. If these blackberries continue to perform as good as they have so far I will plant 100 freedom plants this time next year. I need to get a test crop of traveler planted.


I got a feel for the thorns planting them and they are pretty wicked thorns. They are not as bad as my heirloom variety when it comes to thorns. I will not enjoy mowing the rows!


My concern is my test crop berry ( missed removing a berry) from a plant I planted late ripened in November. That late ripening is concerning in a colder climate because it’s far to late some years. I’m not sure if I will lose some every year that won’t ripen before the cold weather comes. I had friends once that lost half their raspberry crop every year because they would not ripen in time. So the question is will your idea of skipping the spring Floricane crop and getting a heavy fall primocane crop work 100%? I suspect your plants will produce the primocane crop in August or September depending on daytime temperatures. In my area we might not be under 100 degrees in August so we might wait until late August or early September as we dip in the 90’s for the plants to produce. I’m way ahead of myself and am only trying to guess myself what will happen. The test crops are to determine how these berries will perform here and if they do well I will plant acres in non enriched soil and supplement the soil later as I did in the test crops. If the berries respond well to the improvements I made to this soil in the 100 plant planting I will acquire additional soil supplements. If the test crops perform the same with just wood chips and non supplemented soil I will know I’m wasting money and time to improve the soil. Grapes as an example produce far less grapes in improved soil. Grapes do not respond well to excess nutrients.


We used welding gloves when we pruned the Shawnee and other thorny blackberries. The gloves helped but we often got snagged when we stepped into the pruned canes in the row middles by accident

Look forward to your future reports