Q: I am a science teacher and always tell my students that plants bring out the best in people. I’m planning a garden at my home and would like to place a blackberry bush against a fence row. I have a blackberry bush in the middle of my yard. Would the blackberries from this old bush be better tasting and more plentiful than a new variety?
A: It’s as hard to determine if the old bush will produce good berries as it is predicting on the first day of school which of your students will excel in science. You’ll just have to move it and see what happens.
In my experience, training a blackberry onto a fence is not a good idea. The annual pruning they require is made difficult by the fence material. It’s better to put up a two-wire arbor six feet away from the fence.
There are several good blackberry varieties to plant, including ‘Gem’, ‘Arapaho’ and ‘Black Satin’. You can get a free pamphlet on “Home Garden Raspberries and Blackberries” from your local Extension service (800-ASKUGA-1).