Video: Blackberries, Cultivation On The Site And Varieties. Part 1
Blackberry is my favorite
Juicy, tasty and with a simply intoxicating aroma, blackberry fruits ripen when we already begin to miss fresh berries, because most berry bushes have ripe fruits earlier, and there is no trace of them left. Blackberries are delicious not only fresh, they are ideal for any homemade preparations, which, by the way, are not only amazingly tasty, but also very useful!
From the forest to the garden
Blackberries are a very convenient crop, the first harvest will not take long, even a small bush, which is no more than three years old, gives the first fruits. In the future, the yield will only increase, it depends little on external conditions, therefore it is stable and regular. Quite often, blackberries are confused with raspberries, and this should not be surprising, because they are really similar, but there are also differences. And the very first thing is in the volume of the harvest: for blackberries it is several times larger, perhaps because it blooms later than raspberries and does not get under frost, or maybe because it is a more drought-resistant crop.
In general, blackberries are not a novelty, people have been using its berries for a very long time, but then they were harvesting exclusively from wild plants, but now they are collected mainly from personal plots, since there are almost no wild blackberries left. For a long time, berries collected from wild plants suited people, but in the middle of the 19th century, the first attempts to cultivate blackberries began to be made, and in the USA the first varieties of the culture, already loved by many, were created.
And in Russia, Ivan Vladimirovich Michurin was the first to do such work with blackberries, he began to conduct active breeding work aimed at obtaining varieties. Around the beginning of the 20th century, the first achievements appeared, and they were so successful that its varieties, a century later, can be found in the plantings of amateur gardeners. One of these cultivars was the Izobilnaya variety. However, the blackberry nevertheless gained the greatest popularity not in our country, but abroad. For example, in the USA, Germany, the Baltic States and England there are now very solid industrial plantings of this culture.
What are blackberries good for?
First of all, of course, the rich composition of its fruits, because they, especially varietal ones, contain more than 9% sugars, many useful organic acids, and also have vitamins, the amount of which reaches 300 mg%. Among other things, blackberries are also rich in natural sponges - pectin, of which there are about 2% in fruits, there are also fiber, tannins, and anthocyanins. Do not forget about the presence in fruits of the most important mineral elements for humans. These are potassium, iron, phosphorus, calcium necessary for bones, as well as manganese and copper. People who have been confirmed by frequent colds should not forget about the presence of vitamin C in the fruits and leaves of blackberries, and the leaves contain up to 270 mg%, which is four times more than in lemons and five times more than in oranges.
In addition to using the fruit for food, blackberries have been used and are still used as a medicine. Absolutely all parts of the plant are used for this. So, in addition to fruits, fresh and dried leaves are infused and brewed, which serve as an effective diaphoretic, make a decoction of the roots to gargle with a cold and to strengthen the gums, leafy plant tops, brewed like tea, help cleanse the body and relieve the effects of mild poisoning.
Blackberry, in which biologically active substances are found, helps to strengthen the walls of capillaries, prevents the development of atherosclerosis, and reduces inflammatory processes in the body. Along with all the above positive properties, blackberries are also an excellent honey plant, its honey helps with colds, relieves cough and normalizes body temperature.
But even this does not end with all the advantages of blackberries. She, as a culture with a powerful root system, can be successfully used if it is required to strengthen slopes that are prone to water or air erosion. And it can also be applied in landscape design as a decorative culture. And this is all due to the fact that at the beginning of summer its bushes are covered with snow-white flowers, and closer to autumn they are hung with berries shining like coals.
Features of culture
The characterization of blackberries, of course, would be incomplete without mentioning the biology of this culture. You need to know that this is one of the brightest representatives of the Rosaceae family, belonging to the genus Raspberry and the subgenus Blackberry. In general, there are quite a lot of wild species and forms of blackberries in natural plantations - more than fifty. However, among this variety, the gray blackberry stands alone, it grows in the European part of Russia, occupies the foothills of the Caucasus, the valleys of Central Asia and is found even in Western Siberia, where it sometimes forms real impassable thickets.
They were in no hurry to introduce blackberries into the culture, apparently, there were enough natural plantings, and they were afraid of it, frankly, because it can grow so much on the site that it will be very problematic to lime it later. However, in the middle of the 19th century, the form "garden blackberry" appeared and was introduced into culture, which became the progenitor of most varieties known and cultivated to this day.
What is "garden blackberry"? It turns out that, like a blackberry with a dove, it is a shrub that has perennial shoots. The development cycle of these shoots is interesting. It is biennial - in the first year of growth, buds are laid, and in the second year, fruiting and subsequent death of shoots occur. As for the height of the plant, it varies depending on the growing conditions: on poorer soils, where there is a lack of moisture, plants sometimes barely reach a meter, but on fertile soil, in an open place with plenty of moisture, bushes can stretch up to a record seven meters! A characteristic feature of "blackberry" shoots is a whitish waxy bloom and a fairly large number of thorns of impressive size. Blackberry leaves are of various shapes, they can be trifoliate, complex, but more often quintuple. In their sinuses, two or three buds are most often laid, one of which is noticeably larger than the rest - this is a generative bud, which will form flowers, and then fruits.
The buds swell and start growing quite early - already at the beginning of May, but only after a month and a half flowering begins. The flowering period is quite long, at this time snow-white, rather large, self-pollinating flowers bloom, which are folded into an inflorescence - a panicle or a brush. The first fruits begin to color around the beginning of August, and in the middle of this month, individual specimens are usually already ready for harvest. Mass harvesting of fruits is usually carried out in September. In general, blackberry varieties require a much longer ripening period than raspberries: even early varieties give their first fruits only 30-35 days after flowering.
According to the type of growth of the bush, all blackberries are divided into kumaniks - growing straight, and mildews - creeping plants. There are, however, varieties of blackberries that have an intermediate bush shape. In general, if we talk about the erect form of the blackberry, then it is in many respects similar both in biology and in the way of reproduction with the raspberry we are familiar with.
Blackberries grow on various types of soil, however, on fertile, rich in humus, yields are higher. Blackberry also succeeds well on medium loamy substrates, as well as on loose and air-permeable soils with a neutral reaction. Blackberries do not like, perhaps, areas with stagnant moisture, and the level of groundwater should not be higher than one and a half meters to the soil surface.
As already mentioned, breeding work with blackberries is underway, and it is quite successful, because a fairly large number of varieties of this crop have already been created, but the vast majority of them are the result of the activities of US breeders. On the sites of our country, you can now see cultivars with erect shoots, first of all, these are Agavam, Darrow, Erie, Wilson Earley and Ufa local. We also have creeping varieties, such as Abundant. Gardeners are also held in high esteem with studless cultivars, for example, Thornfree.
Irina Guryeva, Junior Researcher, Berry Crops Department, V. I. I. V. Michurin.
Photo by the author
Read Blackberries, cultivation on the site and varieties. Part 2