Friends tell me that it is difficult to grow berries here. Berries love cooler temps, more humidity and acidic soil. I have tried (believe me). I have a garden bed that is mostly shade, and I baby it with lots of compost and pine needles for acidity. I have planted strawberries there and yes, I do get some fruit. It is very sweet, but smaller than the strawberries that we used to grow in California.
An aquaintance was tossing out her failed attempt at blackberries last year. I asked for the 3 healthiest looking plants. She said that I was crazy (maybe so). She said that she had tried everything and could not get fruit. She had a great garden, but did not have time to baby these anymore. They are full of thorns, they spread quickly and take over. I had been considering a thorny hedge in the front yard to keep the kids from cutting through our front lawn on their way to school.
I had to handle these things with a shovel and gloves. They tended to reach out and grab me. But I planted the 3 little plants in a rock garden that serves as the boundary between our front yard, and neighbor’s yard. My little plan worked; these grew tall and wide. I carefully trimmed it back. My friend’s rabbits jump for joy when I bring them the thorny treat. Goats love them too.
I have not been babying this plant at all. It has not received any compost or amendments. I assume that this rock garden has provided it with the minerals that it needs. The leaves are a deep shiny green and in April, there were tons of flowers. Now, there are tons fruit on them! I am shocked. I am picking 10-20 berries per day now. They are firm, they melt in my mouth and not in my hand, they are more tart than a strawberry, but still sweet. I am freezing them until I have enough to do something with. That bush is still growing! I am sure that next year the harvest will be huge! So if you want to grow berries and you need a bushy ornamental for your landscape, consider the black berry bush!