It is not often possible to find cultivated blackberries on our backyards. However, experimenting gardeners love to grow this berry and appreciate it for its delicious taste and nutritional properties. Garden blackberry compares favorably with wild-growing species in yield and fruit size. It is no coincidence that one of the varieties was named Giant.
The blackberry belongs to the Rubus genus, which includes about 200 natural species. America is considered the homeland. It was there that in the 19th century they began to domesticate blackberries thanks not only to the decorative qualities of the shrub, ease of care, but also to the taste and unusual aroma of the fruits. New varieties and hybrids were bred that are more resistant to cold climates. The new culture brought from overseas in the 20th century became widespread in Europe. The first person in Russia to pay attention to the value of blackberries was I.V. Michurin. As a result of long-term work, he developed new varieties adapted to our climatic conditions.
Now in the world there are more than 300 varietal representatives of the culture.
Blackberry Giant is famous for its large berries and frost resistance
Blackberry Giant is valued for its unprecedented yield - the bush gives about 30 kg of berries per season. In addition, it has high frost resistance, without damage tolerates frosts down to -30 ° С, therefore it can be cultivated not only in the south of the country, but also in regions with cold winters.
The giant forms a sprawling bush of 1.5–2.5 m with strong flexible shoots. In June, large white inflorescences appear on the stems. Due to late flowering, the buds are not damaged by spring frosts, which has a beneficial effect on productivity.
Powerful shoots of the Giant blackberry form a bush up to 2.5 m
Fruiting occurs in the second year. It lasts from July to the end of September. The fruit is a composite drupe. The shape is elongated, conical. At the beginning of ripening, blackberry fruits are green, then brownish, then they acquire a reddish-brown hue. In ripe berries, the shiny skin turns black and purple.
The Blackberry Giant is sometimes confused with the English variety Bedford Giant. The main difference between the species is the size of the berries: in Bedford they are smaller, weighing 7 g, in the Giant - much larger, up to 20 g.
Fruit juice is dark red; dessert taste, sweet and sour, delicate, with a pronounced blackberry aroma. Ripe berries are consumed fresh, frozen, dried, made jam, jam, jelly, compote, liqueur, added to desserts and pastries.
Blackberries are a storehouse of vitamins, useful minerals, its use helps to normalize blood pressure, strengthen immunity, improve metabolism, and heal wounds. This berry is a natural substitute for aspirin, so it has long been used to reduce fever and relieve colds.
Blackberry Giant is a productive variety, up to 30 kg of berries can be harvested from a bush per season
Among the disadvantages of the variety, only the intolerance of the dryness of the soil is noted: a lack of moisture negatively affects the quantity and quality of berries. This makes it difficult to grow the variety in dry areas.
To feast on blackberries annually, you should first of all take care of the seedlings and correctly plant.
Blackberries are planted both in spring and autumn. The best time is early spring, before the beginning of the growing season. The seedlings will have time to root well during the season and leave for the winter, stronger. You can plant blackberries at the end of the season, only this must be done 2-3 weeks before the onset of cold weather, otherwise young plants may die. Autumn planting is preferable to carry out in the southern regions. Seedlings in containers can be planted all season.
Blackberry seedlings in containers can be planted throughout the growing season
Blackberry Giant is a light-loving plant that prefers to grow in areas well warmed by the sun or in light partial shade. It is not particularly demanding on the soil, but heavy clayey and wetlands are not suitable for it, the best conditions are loams with a slightly acidic reaction.
In clay soil, it is necessary to add a bucket of peat and sand (1 m2). On sands and sandy loam soil, blackberries can grow, but will require the introduction of large doses of organic matter in the form of mulch and watering. The bramble is usually located in places protected from the cold north wind - along the fence, not far from outbuildings.
Better to plant blackberries along the fence to keep out the wind.
Garden centers and nurseries now offer a wide range of cultivated blackberries. There you can choose exactly those varieties that are zoned to local conditions, get expert advice on caring for plants. Experts recommend purchasing 1-2-year-old seedlings with a well-developed root system. One-year-olds should have two 5 mm stems and a well-formed bud on the roots. Two-year-olds must have at least 3 main roots 15 cm long and an aerial part 40 cm high.
If the bark is wrinkled, and the flesh under it is brown, it means that the seedling was dug out a long time ago, has already dried up and is unlikely to take root.
Use bush or linear types of planting blackberries. With the bush method, the plants are planted in holes 45 cm deep and wide at a distance of 1–1.3 m. With the linear method, trenches 45 cm deep and 50 cm wide are dug, leaving 2 m between rows. The rows should be located from north to south. Before planting, you should also install supports: the blackberry grows rapidly, it is better to lay the overgrown shoots on a supporting structure.
For spring planting, the site is prepared in autumn, for autumn planting - in 2-3 weeks. The earth is dug up, leveled, weeds are removed. Filled with humus (1.5 kg 1 m2), superphosphate (100 g), potassium sulfate (30 g) or ash (100 g). Previously, the seedlings are dipped for an hour in a solution with Kornevin, which stimulates root formation.
Step-by-step planting process:
The roots of the seedling need to be spread well
After planting, the seedling is well moisturized
At first, young plants are protected from direct sunlight using agrofibre or paper. After a week, the shading is removed.
This culture is unpretentious, it is only necessary to regularly water, feed, remove weeds and excess growth.
Blackberries are demanding for watering, they need a lot of water to grow shoots and pour berries. To maintain the required soil moisture level, the bramble is watered once a week with 10 liters of water per bush. Plants especially need moisture during the period of intensive growth and fruit formation. In drought, with insufficient watering, the berries become small and fall off. In October, water-charging watering of plantings is mandatory (20 l / bush).
Blackberries especially need moisture during the period of fruit formation.
Waterlogging is detrimental to the plant: moisture, stagnating in the soil, can cause the development of infections and rot, the formation of new shoots will drag on until late autumn, and the winter hardiness of blackberries will decrease.
During the season, the soil under the bushes and in the aisles must be loosened and weeded. Weeds inhibit shoot development and reduce yields. Loosening is carried out between the rows to a depth of 12 cm, near the bushes - in the surface layer, not deeper than 8 cm, so as not to damage the roots. Such an agricultural technique allows not only to improve soil air exchange and fight weeds, but also to destroy the locations of pests. After watering and loosening, the soil is mulched with straw, sawdust.
Fertilizers are necessary not only to feed the plant with nutrients, but also to eliminate diseases and pests that are inevitable in adverse weather conditions. On well-filled soil for the first 2 years in spring, blackberries are fed only with nitrogen fertilizers (10 g of urea 5 l ). On poor soils, it is recommended to carry out foliar top dressing with Kemira Plus (20 g / 10 l).
The balanced composition of top dressing allows you to get a yield increase of up to 30%.
During the period of fruit formation, the plant needs potassium (30 g of potassium sulfate / 10 l at the rate of 6 l of solution per 1 m2). Mineral fertilizer can be replaced with ash (200 g / 1 m2). Superphosphate (35 g / 1 m2), nitrophosphate (30 g / 1 m2), potassium sulfate (30 g / 1 m2).
Agricola - vitamin complex for berry crops
Organics are also used annually as top dressing: in June - aqueous solutions of mullein (1:10), chicken droppings (1:20), in the fall, humus is scattered under the bush.
By the appearance of plants, one can judge the lack of nutrients. Weak shoots, small fruits, yellowing of the foliage indicate a nitrogen deficiency, the veins of the leaves turn yellow, the berries dry out - about a lack of iron, the rim is brown on the leaf blades - there is little potassium, the leaves become red, fall off by the middle of the season - a lack of magnesium.
Redness of blackberry leaves is a sign of magnesium deficiency
Usually, blackberries are grown on a trellis - the garter of the bushes allows you to save part of the crop from contact with the ground, provides uniform sunlight and airflow through the bush, without creating conditions for the development of the fungus. In addition, the bushes laid on a trellis look very decorative during flowering - they create a solid green carpet, decorated with large fragrant flowers.
The blackberry on the trellis creates a solid green carpet that beautifies the area
When forming a berry bush, it should be borne in mind that blackberry shoots have a two-year development cycle: in the first year they grow, lay buds, in the second year they bear fruit and die off. Therefore, in the fall, the branches that bear fruit are cut off, the weak and damaged ones are removed. A blackberry bush is formed from 8-10 strong and healthy shoots. Usually they adhere to a fan formation. In the spring, after removing the shelter, the branches are raised on a trellis in an upright position, young growing shoots are placed parallel to the ground. In autumn, the central fruiting stems are removed, leaving 8-10 young strong horizontal shoots.
In the fall, the fruit-bearing shoots of blackberries are cut out at the root
Blackberries give a lot of growth, making the bush thickened and prickly. Therefore, it is imperative that when a zero shoot grows up to 2 m and a garter to the trellis, the top is cut off. Until autumn, 6-10 lateral branches grow, which will yield 3-5 clusters of berries each next year.
Experienced gardeners advise to cut off the lateral shoots by 3-5 buds in the fall or after wintering in order to get fewer brushes, but with larger berries.
Despite the frost resistance, the Giant blackberry needs to be insulated for the winter. After pruning, water-charging irrigation and mulching with humus, the branches are tilted in an arc-like manner to the ground and covered with agrofibre. Unlike roses and grapes, this crop does not vomit. It is advisable to cover young plantings from above with spruce branches, and in winter to rake snow to the bushes. Even severe frosts are not afraid of blackberries under such a blanket.
Before the onset of cold weather, blackberry bushes are covered with non-woven material, in winter they rake snow to them
Blackberries are propagated by seeds, layering and cuttings.
The easiest way to propagate blackberries is by apical layers
Blackberry cuttings with roots are planted in a permanent place
Blackberry Giant is resistant to many common berry infections... Only occasionally in damp summers is there a danger of disease. Preventive measures will prevent the emergence of pests.
Among the many types of blackberries, the Giant variety stands out. Large berries with a pleasant dessert taste will delight you with their quality and quantity. Another plus of the variety, especially relevant for Russian gardeners, is the ability of this blackberry to painlessly endure frosty winters.
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