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Season

The Blackberry season is from July to early November.  These can be difficult fruit to grow since the long canes need very careful training, and inclement weather can damage fruit or let disease obtain a hold.  Thorns can be a problem with some varieties; and surprisingly to some people, many varieties are not very hardy.  We tend to think of blackberries as being semi-wild and therefore as tough as nails.  This is not always so.  Blackberries are very responsive to sheltered conditions, and some will not stand up to a particularly cold wet winter.

Picking

Like a raspberry, a blackberry develops its colour some time before it is fully ripe.  Nevertheless, ripeness can be judged by eye to some extent, but the firmness of a particular berry is the best guide.  Unlike raspberries, blackberries, loganberries and tayberries etc. do not leave the plug behind on being picked, but the fruit should separate cleanly with a gentle pull.  If a hard pull seems to be needed; then the fruit is not yet ripe.


Varieties (in order of ripening)

Silvan is a thorny early variety with a good flavour.

Helen is similar in season and quality, but with the advantage of being thornless.

Kotata is another thorny variety of excellent quality which starts to crops at the end of July.

Loch Ness is a thornless hardy, variety which starts to crop in mid September, and gives excellent quality fruit which must be allowed to become fully ripe, or the flavour is impaired.

Triple Crown, another hardy,  thornless variety, with a good flavour, continues the season 2 weeks later.


Loganberries

These fruits are like a sharp raspberry in flavour, but the plant grows like a blackberry. The most well-known variety is Loganberry LY654, but other fruit plants with similar characteristics include Tayberries, Tummelberries, and Boysenberries which are thornless and nearer to the blackberry in terms of colour and flavour.











Loch Ness a popular blackberry Tayberries make excellent jam