Thornless Blackberry in a Container

Last summer, I discovered this blackberry plant at a local nursery. It’s a thornless blackberry variety called Navaho. I planted it in a container with a standard potting soil, and I put the container next to a fence to help support its vines. Its vines are more erect then the vines of my raspberry plants (which I am also growing in containers) and do not seem to need much support. I have an automatic microspray device on it that waters it every other day.

Wild blackberries grow in some parts of our yard, and I am constantly digging them up in an attempt to get rid of them. The thorns on these wild blackberries are nasty. They poke right through my thickest gloves. So I was excited to discover that there are hybrid varieties of thornless blackberries. What a pain it is to harvest berries from thorny vines while constantly getting poked! I didn’t even consider planting blackberries until I discovered this thornless variety. It turns out there are several other thornless blackberry varieties.

The wild blackberries in our yard are invasive. They spread by underground runners, which makes them hard to control. I have tried pulling them up by the roots several times, but they keep growing back every year. I decided to plant the Navaho blackberry in a container, in order to prevent it from spreading the way blackberries tend to do.

Navaho is an early ripening variety. Most of its berries are ready to be picked in late June and early July. I do not like tart blackberries, but I’ve found there is a way to harvest sweet blackberries. The berries are ripe and very sweet when they come off the vine easily with only a slight tug. The berries on my Navaho are usually quite tart until they come off the vine easily. Then they are really sweet, tasting the way blackberries are supposed to taste. If I need to pull firmly to get a blackberry off the vine, it usually too tart.

I rarely buy blackberries in supermarkets, because they are typically too tart for my tastes. I’ve noticed that the sweetest of our blackberries are often soft and sometimes even on the verge of falling apart. Soft berries probably don’t ship well, and I imagine that’s why supermarket blackberries are picked early when they are very firm but tart. More reason to grow your own.

July 01 2012 10:09 pm | Blackberries