Blackberries and memories

  • When I was 12 my parents moved our family out the country; it was a small town named Thompsons, Texas, and the population at the time was 78. Up until that point in my life, we had lived in the city. After the move, we lived on six acres and had just about every animal we could convince my parents to buy. We never had a pig or sheep, but we did have chickens, rabbits, turkeys, horses, cows, a stubborn pony, guineas, and or course dogs and cats. Life in the country was always an adventure! We soon discovered a big patch of blackberries growing along the ditches of the rail road tracks close to our home. We had to fight through the stickers, but during the summer months, when the berries were everywhere, we would pick them for cobbler. And I came to love blackberry cobbler! My mom made the best!

    When I started my garden, I knew I wanted blackberries. In December, I ordered my first blackberry plant from I ordered the Natchez Thornless Blackberry Plant (yes, thornless! Isn’t that awesome?). I planted it in a raised bed to keep it alive until I came up with a better plan. I read that blackberries need well-drained soil. We have a thick Texas gumbo clay in our yard, and I didn’t think that would work. Blackberries grow on a bush that comes back every year climbs. So I built a cedar bed and put a garden fence behind it to support the bushes. I planted it very early in the spring this year. Later I bought 4 more blackberry plants, the same thornless variety, at Home Depot. And the blackberries are doing great! I have harvested a few. From everything I have read, I should get my first big crop next year. I enjoy watching the vines grow, and every few days I weave them in the garden fence. I hope to have more than one cobbler next year! It has brought back so many family memories planting them. Someday I plan to pick them with my kids and eat homemade blackberry cobbler. I will share my mom’s recipe when I make it!

    Newly planted blackberry patch


    The berries start as a white flower


    They are filling out the bed!


    The berries start to turn, they turn bright red first and then a deep purple.


    I made my signs out of a shim from the hardware store. I have decided that next time I plant something, I will put the date on it so I remember when I planted it.


    Bright red stage


    Next to quarter to show size. Aww, I can't wait for enough for a cobbler!


    So excited to pick a bucket full next spring!


    My blackberry patch on May 24, 2012.

    May 24th, 2012 | 7 Comments | Tags: , , ,

7 Responses and Counting...

  • Martha 05.24.2012

    Hi! Just read your blog on blackberries! Thank you for sharing! I just bought a home that I be turning into a B&B in the Hills of Virginia. I would love to have fresh berries to serve the guest! We are still working getting ready to be open sometime this fall. 103 year old home takes a bit of work. The gardens are over grown and we are ready to get going on it as soon as it warms up!

    I was raised in Texas, and AHHH do I remember the chiggers ! We have some wild berries on the property here but not sure what they are yet! And yes they have thorns!


  • Martha,
    I bet the bed and breakfast is beautiful! Homes that take a bit of work are always worth it in the end. The older homes have so much character! Best of luck to you for a fall opening. Funny thing, we live on Chigger Creek here in Texas but luckily somehow the chiggers have moved on. I think the early Texas settlers must have been welcomed by the them here, thus the name. Well wishes for a bright and sunny spring for your gardens.
    stay in touch please and let me know when it’s open!

  • My mom and I are planting a garden, and I want blackberries. Do they grow in the South?

  • Louise,
    Yes blackberries grow in the south. I live in the Houston, Texas area, zone 9a. I grow them in my backyard and I ate them as a child after picking them from wild bushes close to our home in the country. I planted the Natchez thornless blackberry. I bought a few of my plants at home depot, but also ordered one at before I saw them in the store. Here is the link that I ordered my first one. Link:
    They are a bush that will produce for 10-15 years so the first year you will not get as many as in the years to come. This is my second year and I hope to get at least a gallon.
    Where are you located?
    I would reccomend visiting a nursery close to your home and asking someone local the best way to grow them. I have mine in a raised bed on the ground because I read they like soil that drains well. We have a lot of clay soil in our yard so I brought in good soil for them. I hope this information helps. Stay in touch and let me know how your garden is growing!

  • Liz

    This is wonderful. I love blackberries. Thank you for the idea of a raised bed.

  • Melanie,

    I live in Houston and will be moving to Katy very soon, and I absolutely love your raised garden idea. I can’t wait to implement it! What sort of trouble do you have with birds and your blackberries? I remember trying to grow berries when I was a kid, but the greedy birds ate them all unless we kept them safe behind cages of chicken wire.

  • Hey everyone, I’m new to growing and want to live a healthy lifestyle now by growing my own berries and veggies. Will blackberries grow well in TN. I don’t know what zone Bolivar Tn is in. How do I find out what zone I’m in?

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