Blackberry Growing and Care

The Blackberry was my first choice in a new garden makeover project. Now three years on my crop is destined to be enormous.
I am rejuvenating and increasing the space dedicated to soft fruit.
My badminton partner has long espoused the success of the thornless varieties and I fancy a rest from foraging in the hedge rows that may have been chemically treated by well meaning farmers.

Blackberry 'Waldo'

Blackberry Waldo

  • Waldo is a completely thornless and early fruiting variety.
  • It should grow in a compact form with moderately vigorous growth making it ideal for a smaller space than some brambles.
  • I was seduced by the claim of ‘extremely large, attractive, glossy fruit. The berries are firm with exceptional flavour.’ Who ever checks back against these sales descriptions.

Planting my Blackberry Waldo

  • The area was prepared by digging out all other plant matter and adding garden compost and bone meal.
  • After a few weeks I dug a large hole added more compost and planted the pot grown bush to the depth of the soil mark on the stem
  • The pot was soaked for a couple of hours before planting and was watered in after I had firmly planted the bush.

Growing and Caring for Blackberry Waldo

  • To encourage new growth and help establishment I would have cut back all stems to about 1 foot above ground.
  • I will tie in the new growth to some wire supports that will take the bush back 24-30inches to the fence.
  • Each winter I will cut out the fruiting canes and train in the new.
  • Mulching will help retain moisture and suppress weeds. I did consider a weed proof membrane buried a few inches deep but restrained.
  • In spring I will feed the fruit garden with Growmore or if necessary some sulphate of potash.

Varieties Ignored for My Garden

Navaho backberry which has an upright, self-supporting habit – expensive.
Loch Ness, Apache and Reuben from Thompson & Morgan

Karaka was very tempting due to the name and the description.

A new variety has been strongly recommended in today’s Daily Telegraph as being sweeter and larger than most varieties. It is now available in some UK supermarkets. It is named Driscoll’s Victoria. In America¬† blackberries are far more popular than in the UK and the varieties are far sweeter where Driscoll’s variety originates. (Not yet seen with plant suppliers)


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