Staking the Blackberries
One of the features of our property that I immediately fell in love with was a massive wild blackberry patch down by the pond. I've always preferred the taste of wild blackberries over the tame variety, and I have fond memories of heading into the woods as a child to feast on the wild blackberries growing on my parents land. I often wondered about transplanting a few wild bushes up closer to my garden, and two falls ago I finally did it. They survived the winter and thrived the following summer, but since blackberries only form on second year canes, I knew it would be another year before they fruited. All winter long I've kept a close watch on the patch. And this spring I was rewarded with beautiful new sprouts, healthy growth, and even some blossoms on the canes. I soon realized that it was time to rein them in, and the best way to do that was to stake them along a fence. Here's how the process went...
The first step was gathering up the T-posts, fence post driver, wire, and most importantly, my gloves. I can't work without my gloves. And since I don't buy any new materials unless I absolutely have to, everything I used was recycled. I found several steel posts that were about the same length, and two rolls of woven wire that were kind of kinky, but they still had some life in them.
I'd planted the bushes just below and parallel to the garden fence, so my plan was to follow that line with the new support fence. Fortunately the ground was soft from previous rains so the posts sank into the earth without hitting any stones. Quite the accomplishment if you know anything about Ozark terrain! Once the posts were in, I strung the wire between them, pulling it tight and looping around the posts as I went.
I wasn't sure if the used wire would be long enough to stretch the entire length of the blackberry row, and I got a little nervous as I approached the last post. But low and behold, I had just enough wire to reach it! I pulled it tight and twisted it securely around that last post, and then I started on the next strand. Once I got that one secured, I turned my attention to the debris pile blocking the path between the blackberries and the garden. It was fairly simple to clean up since it was just leftover material from when I built the garden pallet fence earlier in the year.
The next step was to weave the fruiting canes and the new growth in and out of the wire strands. This brought the canes up from their natural arching positions and turned them into a wall of blackberry bushes. The effect was much better than I expected. It streamlined the shrubs into an organized line and lifted the unripe berries off the ground. Now they could soak up the sunshine, the air could circulate better around them, and I didn't have to worry about them wallowing around in the dirt.
And here's the finished product. Blackberry fence on the right, garden fence on the left. Once I finished the project, I realized how much of an improvement it was. Now, when the blackberries ripen, all I have to do is walk down the path and pick as many berries and I want. I don't even think I'll have to bend down to get them! It sure beats fighting through the overgrown mess of a patch that's growing down by the pond. Although, who am I kidding? I know I won't be able to keep myself away from there. If there are blackberries growing on my land, I am compelled to pick them. There's no way to stop me! Even the thorns don't faze me. Neither does the heat, or the weeds, or the snakes...
11/13/2019 04:08:28 pm
You have lots of great berries growing in this garden of yours. I used to be in the field of farming, so I can tell that you have the skills. I think that you can probably sell these berries of yours for a small profit. I know that it is not what you want, but you should think about it. You can really make some extra money from it, and it will help you fund your future projects, believe me, it helps.
4/30/2021 09:10:52 am
I have two questions. One, how did you pull the wire tight? Do you have to retighten the wires after the winter snow?
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As much as I'd like to spend all my time in the garden, there's a lot of other chores to do around the homestead. Here's a peek into my routine.