Blackberries are my favorite berry.  I love them freshly picked, in pies or cobblers, as jam, and as wine.  I probably prefer the taste of strawberries slightly over blackberries, but when you factor in growing and picking, blackberries win as my favorite.

Blackberries are aggressive and will take over whatever area you plant them in, crowding out the weeds.   They love and fruit best in full sun, but adapt to partial to near full shade.  They also do not seem to be picky about the soil.   This makes them easy to grow and is what edges them above strawberries.

Nearly every place a vine touches the ground, it makes a new plant. This picture is where a new plant started from the end of a vine. This means that you can start out with a few plants and in a few years have whole row and in a few more be nearly overrun by the things and start giving them away to friends and family.  This is how I got my start, from a friend, who got his start from his parents, who got theirs from a coworker, and so on.

The ones I grow are an improved thorn-less variety.  I do not know the actual name, but I don’t think there are that many different ones out there. Not only are they easier to pick without the thorns, but the berries are much larger than your wild berries.  We have both these and wild berries on the property.

Another thing they are good for is pest control for grapes. Planting blackberries in proximity to grapes is a natural way to reduce bugs that would eat your grapes.  Growers have noted that the blackberries attract the bugs first and are hearty enough that the pest are no real threat.  This gives the predator bugs time to hatch and start eating the bad bugs and keep them off  your grape plants.

I’m very happy to finally have a good row growing again; I’ve missed them since we moved.  I put this section of the fence up first just so I could get a start on the berries.  This picture shows the end of my current 50′ row of blackberries. Eventually they will continue on down whole fence, except for a few grape plants on either end.  That’ll be about 150′ worth of blackberries, yum.