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Thornless Blackberry Bush
Member Name: alysonfreeman
Thornless Blackberry Bush
Date: 04/09/01, updated on 04/09/01 (1914 review reads)
Advantages: No prickles, Not invasive
Disadvantages: Not enough fruit
I planted an Oregon Thornless two autumns ago, tucking it in carefully with some nice compost against a south-facing wall in the orchard. I knew blackberries would grow well in my soil, because brambles are one of my problem weeds. So after watering in and talking to it kindly, I stood back to await results.
The next summer, the plant had 4 main stems which grew to about 3 ft long. In September, I counted about 10 fruits, but the birds got to them before I did. Not as prolific as I’d hoped!
So this year I have cosseted the plant, giving it a mulch of compost and making sure not too many weeds were competing with it. Result – about 10 fruits. At least I got to them first this time!
The fruits are large, and the taste is quite good – but what do you do with 10 blackberries? (9 after I’d eaten one). Not much of a pie there!
I looked round the garden, and in the corner near the compost heap I found some brambles that I hadn’t got round to pulling out. They are all tangled up with a holly tree – that’s my excuse! The wild brambles were laden with fruit this afternoon, with lots more to come. And the taste! I was instantly transported back to the 1950’s, Sunday afternoons in October (this was in the North East). My Dad and I raiding the hedgerows with plastic bags, falling in the ditches, getting stung by nettles, and eating at least as many as we took home. My poor Mum having to make pies, jams and jellies so as not to waste the bounty (no freezers then). Stained fingers and mouths.
Well, I got the stained fingers again, and I got scratched by the bramble thorns and the holly, but it was worth it. I still have hopes of the thornless bush – perhaps it’s in the wrong place. I will see how it does next year, but I will also take care to leave a few brambles as well.
I would not advise anyone to collect blackberries from the hedgerows along country roads these da
ys – you’re likely to get poisoned if you do! You don’t know whether the plants have been sprayed with anything, and cars still have nasties coming out of their exhausts, even though leaded petrol is no more. Organically grown blackberries are good for you – they contain dietary fibre, vitamin C and potassium.
If you do go blackberrying, make sure you do it before 10th October – apparently the Devil spits on them after this, and you don’t want to eat Devil-spit!