Some of my favorite childhood memories consist of wondering through the woods on a hot summer day in search of blackberries to fill our bellies with. I have always loved to eat blackberries and raspberries.
That is why I was amazed when I learned how easy it is to grow blackberries and raspberries.
Both of these berries will thrive even in marginal soil. Even so, I prefer to replant them into a container full of high quality potting soil.
I like to use a 24" diameter heavy plastic tub. These tubs are sometimes sold as gardening accessories and sometimes they are sold as tubs to keep beer and soda on ice. In either case they are useful here. Simply drill some holes in the bottom to provide drainage and you are ready to go.
Many of these tubs come with a thick and soft rope handles so they can be moved around easily. Many people prefer to use a nice ceramic pot. They have their benefits, but they are too heavy to move around and they break too easily.
Make sure that you transplant your plants. Do not leave them in the flimsy pots that you purchase them in. They will not live long if you do.
Why to contain your berries:
I learned this lesson the difficult way when I planted a few bushes along the side of my house. Within a few years they had taken over my side yard. After enduring many small cuts from their stickers when I was digging them up I decided to replant a few of them into a big tub. The bushes thrived in the tub just as well as they did in the ground.
One benefit of containing them is that they can be moved. I have transported my bushes every time I move. This is nice because usually a plant will not bear fruit until it is two years old.
Maintaining berry bushes:
These plants need a minimum of maintenance. That is why I like them so much. I usually fertilize them in the spring once when everything is coming to life and then only water them if we are in a drought. If you are a gardener who makes his own compost, then by all means add some because it will help your plants.
Then I will cut them back in the late fall just to make the bush more manageable. Make your bushes about 4 to 5' tall. I have cut back my bushes to one foot tall and there have been other years when I didn't cut anything. The bushes come back to life every spring. So now I cut them back so I will have easier access next spring. This seems to give me the best results.
Blackberries and raspberries can be grown by just about anyone. They don't require much room or even good soil. They also don't require a very large initial investment. Best of all, they are enjoyed by just about everyone.