Gardenboss.org is reader-supported. That means as an Amazon Associate we may earn a small commision from qualifying purchases (at absolutely no extra cost to you).

Blackberries and raspberries are a couple of the tastiest berry types anywhere in the world. Often used in pies, muffins, and other yummy deserts, these berries are also delicious eaten raw.

Planting, growing, and harvesting blackberries and raspberries saves you money and ensures that your fruits won’t be tainted by unkown pesticides and other harmful chemicals.

In this guide, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about cultivating raspberries and blackberries.

Planting

One of several blackberry clones propagating in the backyard. (August, 2021)

Both raspberries and blackberries should be planted in full sun. They will grow in the shade, but won’t produce nearly as much fruit.

Like many fruit-bearing plants, the early spring is one of the best times of the year to plant blackberries and raspberries. Late fall is another great time to plant them.

If you’re starting your berry plants in containers, from seeds, you’ll want to start them anywhere from two to four weeks earlier than when you plan to put them in the ground.

Make sure to purchase your blackberry seeds and raspberry seeds from a trusted source, or collect them yourself (which we discuss further along in this article).

Cuttings, or pre-started plants, on the other hand can be placed directly into the ground immediately. Until they begin to show signs of growth, such as new stalks shooting up from their base, make sure to water them on a daily basis.

Growing

A close-up of a cluster of red and black blackberries growing on a vine.
Blackberries ripening on the vine.

Most berries more or less take care of themselves once they are established. With strong roots, adeqaute water, and light, they thrive and will even multiple on their own each year.

Black and red blackberries growing in along an old chainlink fence and elder tree.
A handful of juicey blackberries that are ripening nicely the fence in the backyard. (August, 2021)

Blackberries and raspberries should be placed in an area with little foot traffic from people and pets. They should also be situated where they will receive at least partial sun during the day, though they prefer as much sun as possible.

A one and a half meter long raspberry plant with dark green leaves and a yellow tag with growing instructions written on it, in a bed of mulch.
A one and a half meter, one year old, raspberry plant, that we grew from an 8 or 10-inch cutting this summer (August, 2021).

Most berries can survive in full sun, but prefer at least a bit of shade during the day. Planting them along fence lines, or near trees, are a couple of their favorite places to grow.

Keep in mind that both raspberries and blackberries can take up to three years to start producing berries. Even more, once they are producing, shoots only put out berries every other year.

Also, you may want to consider installing some protection against birds. Otherwise you may find yourself short on berries each year, after all the hard work and long wait!

Harvesting

A fat black berry in a man's hands.
A plump and ripe blackberry freshly plucked from under an elder tree in the back yard. (August, 2021)

Harvesting blackberries is one of the most enjoyable times of the year for nature and berry-lovers. The warm summer mornings, before the sun is roasting, collecting juicey and delicious berries, and breathing in the fresh summer air is amazing.

A wooden basket full of freshly picked blackberries.
A basket of fresh blackberries.

Raspberries and blackberries are quick and easy to harvest. Simply grasp the fruit gently with a finger and thumb and lightly tug it away from the stem. Fruit that comes away from the plant, leaving its core on the stem, is completely ripe.

Several green raspberry plant stalkes poking up over a meter tall each, tired to a rustic trellace, and basking in the shade.
One of our three-year-old Raspberry plants this August (2021) after harvesting.

Berries that come away with their core intact are not quite fully ripe. In this case, you may need to give the rest of your berries additional time before harvesting.

A ripe black berry the size of a man's thumb, held between a man's finger and thumb.
A blackberry fatter than my big thumb in the backyard. (August, 2021)

As you harvest, place only a quart or so of berries in each container. Avoid putting all of your berries in one container as you may end up with mashed berries by the end of your berry picking session.

Consider storing/selling your berries in pint containers after harvesting.

Collecting Seeds and Cloning

Shiney green foilage growing out of a blackberry stem.
Berry foilage.

The collection of blackberry and raspberry seeds is extremely simple:

  • Pick or buy berries
  • Place berries in a bowl
  • Smash them with a spoon
  • Carefully pick out the tiny seeds (light brown in color)
  • Dry them on paper towel or cookie sheet
  • Either plant them right away or store them away for future use

Cloning raspberries and blackberries is also rather easy. It can be done various ways, but we’ll share the quickest and most successful methd with you:

  • Select a long and sturdy stem and test it’s strength by bending it to the ground
  • Remove the first few sets of leaves from stem, starting at the tip
  • Prepare a hole in the ground, two to three feet from the mother plant (or closer if you wish)
  • Bend the stem over and place the stripped tip of it into the hole and cover with rich potting mix
  • Throughly water the plant/hole every day or two for the first two weeks

If you’ve done your job correctly, and your plant is receiving plenty of sunlight and water, you’ll have a new raspberry or blackberry plant shooting up within weeks of planting (if done in the spring – otherwise you can expect new growth to occurr next spring).

Once your new berry bush is growing, if you wish, you can cut it away from the stem used to clone it, dig it up, and transplant it to a new location, or pot it up for the market.

A few large green leaves on a single blackberry stalk planted in the dirt.
This two-week old blackberry clone is almost ready for transplanting. (Photo taken by Jordan on Aug 2021) .

A Final Word About Blackberries and Raspberries

Rasberries growing with an elder tree in the backyard. (Aug 2021)

Blackberries and raspberries are a couple of our favorite fruits, period. Our young son also loves eating them straight from the vine.

Starting berries from seeds, or transplanting plants from the local market, and growing berry plants of your own is as fun and exciting as it is rewarding when the berries are ripe and ready to tickle your tastebuds.

Thanks for reading!

Suggest Reading: A COMPLETE GUIDE TO GROWING TOMATOES

Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc, or its affiliates.