This past spring, I decided to buy a blackberry bush cutting and grow it in a container as part of our family garden. Six months later, though the cutting has grown into a 2 foot plant the bush looks like it’s getting ready for winter and I didn’t see a single bloom. I knew that the blackberry bush was a hardy plant that grew in many climates with no regard to surroundings, but there were many things I didn’t know before I planted it in a container.
When I planted my cutting into the container, I simply tossed some cheap gardening soil in and planted the bush. I didn’t plan for efficient drainage or think about protecting the soil from evaporation. I didn’t even think about what the local critters could do to my plants. I really didn’t think much past planting it in a pot & calling it good.
While wondering what had happened this season with my blackberries, I began to do some research on growing blackberry bushes in containers…finally. The first light bulb turned on when I ran across an article recommending the use rocks. There were two uses mentioned: one, line the bottom of the container with rocks to prevent soggy soil; two, place rocks on top of the dirt to reflect sun on leaves and reduce evaporation. Though there are drain holes in the bottom of the container, the tray that catches the water could have been sopping the soil.
On the Container Gardening Tips website, I found out that the type of soil I’ve been using isn’t allowing my blackberry bush to grow properly. I had been using the cheapest kind of dirt that I could find at Home Depot. According to the author: “Ordinary garden soil is not recommended for it contains a lot of pathogens such as virus, fungus, and bacteria that can harm your plant. A soil potting mix bought in your local nursery or garden store is best for your blackberry. These potting mixes available have a mix of pasteurized soil, perlite, vermiculite, or peat moss as well as compost for nourishment.”
Finally, I discovered that I need to learn more patience. Typically, a blackberry bush doesn’t begin producing fruit until it’s 2nd year.
I think the biggest lesson here is that gardening takes a good deal of patience & planning. Slow down, think it through and ensure that you are truly caring for your plants.