Thursday, April 30, 2009

Back to the Basics: How Blackberries Grow

This blog has always been meant to serve two purposes: 1) keeping track of my garden progress, and 2) documenting exactly how things grow in the garden so I and other beginners can know what to expect from these plants. Lately, I've been doing a lot more quick progress snapshots than actual explanations of plant development. To get back to the basis, here's how blackberries grow.

Up until 2004, all blackberry plants grew in about the same manner. From each plant, shoots come up from the ground and grow into long "canes". These canes grow for a season without fruit, and go dormant during the winter. In the spring, they leaf out again and fruit develop during the summer. These are called "floricane" varieties. In 2004, new varieties were developed called "primocane" blackberries. These grow new canes that can fruit in their first season, go dormant over the winter, and fruit again the following summer. Raspberries also have both floricane and primocane varieties. My Lochness blackberry is a floricane variety. Here you can see the whole plant, with several canes grown last year:Last year, my Lochness blackberry did not produce fruit. This is the plant's second season of growth so it will produce fruit this summer. On each cane, shoots grew from buds along the cane, producing leaves and flower buds above. This picture shows 3 of these growth points.Here, I have pointed out the flower buds on each of the 3 shoots I showed you in the prior picture. It seems that there will be at least 1 flower bud, producing 1 blackberry, from each growth point. The middle shoot here has 2 flower buds.
This summer, new canes will also be growing, but again, they will not produce fruit. At the end of this season, I will have to cut down the canes that made fruit this year so that the new canes can be healthy and strong next year.

In other news, my arugula is growing well, but looks messy. My lettuce is not growing as well. I think the problem is that my drip system does not evenly wet the surface soil. It seems better adapted to watering individual large plants with deep root systems. Maybe the solution is to start my leafy greens in flats on the fire escape and wait until they are large enough that their roots can be adequately watered by the drip system before transplanting to the roof.
Here also are my first creeping phlox flowers of the season. I really love creeping phlox! The green bushy part is so vibrant =)

1 comment:

Less is More said...
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