If you’re looking to make a decadent dessert or simply spruce up your morning oatmeal, you can’t go wrong with blackberries. Native to much of North America, this summer staple will grow with ease in your backyard garden plot, producing baskets of deliciously sweet berries for your family and friends. Not sure if blackberries are the right choice for your garden? Read on to learn all about the benefits of the blackberry, how to include it in your backyard, and yummy recipes that ensure no fruit goes to waste.
Health Benefits of Blackberries
Blackberries are extremely nutrient dense. Rich in vitamins C & K and the mineral manganese, blackberries enhance the body’s immune system, helping to fight off illness. The vitamins and minerals found in blackberries also keep bones strong, help the body to absorb calcium, and encourage wound healing.
In addition to vitamins and minerals, blackberries are one of the most concentrated dietary sources of polyphenols. Polyphenols upregulate the body’s antioxidant and immune systems, and have been found to protect the body from disease.
All in all, blackberries get a gold star for their nutritional properties. Even better news is that they’re an easy addition to a backyard garden.
Logistics of Planting Blackberries
Before running to the store to buy some blackberry bushes, you first need to decide the type of blackberry you’ll be planting. Blackberries come in both thorny and thornless varieties, and can stand alone as a bush or require a trellis. Follow this link for a more in depth look into blackberry varieties and which one may be right for your garden.
Blackberries require full sunlight exposure, well drained soils, and once planted, an inch of water per week. You may have more success with your blackberry bushes if they’re planted on raised ground, slightly mounded soil or a raised bed to encourage better drainage. Another tip is to add some mulch, straw, or wood chips to the base of your bush to prevent weeds and keep soil cool.
Harvest season for blackberries is in late summer, and only lasts for a few weeks. But while you’re waiting for blackberries to blossom and fruit, plant some low growing perennial around the base of the bush. Mint, chive, garlic, beans, and blueberries are just a few companion plants that pair well with blackberry bushes. This way, you can reap the benefits of having a blackberry bush in your garden even outside of harvest season.
Blackberry bushes are extremely productive. But because they only fruit for a few weeks each year, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with the amount of fruit piling into your kitchen. The following recipes are easy and tasty ways to use your blackberry harvest to its fullest potential.
- Blackberry Cobbler Recipe
- Blackberry Sauced Pork Chops
- Blackberry Freezer Jam (No Cooking Involved)
- Sweet Potato Quinoa Cakes with Blackberry Salsa
- Blackberry, Honey and Yogurt Popsicles
Written by Alexandra Grant-Hudd, Grant Writing and Development Intern