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The blackberries (Rubus fruticosus), which belong to the rose family (Rosaceae), have a sweet, tart and juicy taste. They are mainly used in fruity cakes, jams, juices and sauces. They are also very popular during the loveliest summer season as a treat straight from the bush. Blackberries are harvested continuously over a relatively long period of time. Everything you need to know about the right time to harvest can be found below.

Unlike fruit such as apples, plums or peaches, the blackberry harvest time extends over several months into autumn, since not all the berries on a bush ripen at the same time. In some cases, only individual tendrils have berries that are ripe for picking, while the fruits form later on other shoots. The shrub can therefore not be completely harvested. As a rule, blackberries can be harvested in your own garden, but also wild fruits can be harvested continuously from July to October, with the main season being in the months August to September located. After the first frost, no more harvest should take place. The fruits then have a rather bland taste. They then serve as a good food source for native birds.

Tip: Blackberries contain many vitamins and minerals. 100 grams of these juicy fruits can already cover a third of the daily vitamin C requirement and strengthen the immune system.

When to harvest blackberries?

During the harvest season, it is advisable to pick the ripe fruit from the bush at least once or twice a week so that it does not spoil. This also ensures that the fruit left on the bramble bush gets more sun and light to ripen. If possible, harvest should take place on a sunny morning. After prolonged rain, picking the berries should be avoided. These then have a watery taste. However, the question now arises as to when exactly blackberries are ripe? Initially, the fruits are green, then turn pink to red, until finally…

  • plump, strong black and shiny
  • Fruits are juicy, sweet to tart
  • are easy to pick
  • Leaf crown comes off easily

In this case, it is high time to harvest. If there is any doubt about the degree of ripeness of the fruit, a taste can be helpful. It is important that only ripe fruit should be harvested, as blackberries do not ripen. Unripe berries are not only recognizable by their sour taste, they are green or light red, inedible and should remain on the bush for some time. Consuming such fruits can cause stomach pain.

Sometimes the berries can remain red and not ripen any further. The whole berry can be affected or just one spot. As a rule, only individual fruits on the bush are then affected. This is caused by the presence of the blackberry gall mite (Acalitus essigi). You can hardly see it with the naked eye and suck the berries. This affects ripening. The fruits usually remain red, are unripe and just as inedible.

Tip: Normal rapeseed oil mixed with a little water to form a sprayable liquid can be used to prevent the infestation. To do this, the fresh shoots are sprayed shortly after they have budded and this is repeated shortly before full bloom.

Instructions: Harvest properly

Since most blackberry bushes, except for some new breeds, have spines, appropriate equipment is necessary:

  • gloves
  • long trousers
  • long tops
  • solid shoes
  • small baskets

The fruits must not be crushed and should be stored loosely and carefully in the containers.

Dried, moldy or mushy fruits should also be removed from the bush regularly to prevent infections. The harvested branches die off after harvest and can then be cut off close to the ground. This will make further harvesting easier.

Tip: Blackberries should be eaten fresh whenever possible. They will keep in the fridge for a day or two. They are also excellent for freezing and making juices, jams and jellies.

Factors affecting harvest

With the varieties grown in this country, it is rare to discover a difference in the ripening time. However, the time for the harvest is not always so easy to determine, since fruit formation occurs differently on the individual tendrils after the flowering period. As a result, the berries ripen a few days later. The ripening of the fruit depends on various factors:

  • weather
  • location
  • regular pruning
  • adequate fertilization and watering

In full sun, blackberries will ripen more evenly, earlier and are far more aromatic than berries grown in the shade. Pruning, fertilization and irrigation also affect the ripening time, aroma and size of the berries. Sometimes it can quickly happen that after a prolonged period of wet weather, the fruits go moldy directly on the bush. These must be removed as soon as possible. Furthermore, tendrils without flowers should be cut away so that the shrub can put the energy into the existing fruits. The one-year-old shoots should also be cut back by half in autumn.

Tip: By planting different varieties, a different variety of flavors in the fruit is possible. This also allows the harvest time to be extended or brought forward.

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