primocane blackberry Reuben
- Position: full sun or partial shade
- Soil: any soil
- Rate of growth: fast-growing
- Other features: deliciously sweet and juicy fruit (late July to the end of August)
- Hardiness: fully hardy
Bred at the University of Arkansas, Reuben has been heralded as the first primocane blackberry - ie. it produces fruit on the current years growth. Not only that, but the fruits, which are produced in abundance, are the size of a plum (weighing up to 9g each). They have a glossy skin and sweet, slightly fruity-flavoured flesh and can be eaten straight from the bush, or used to make jams, pies or coulis.
- Garden care: Prepare the ground well before planting. Remove all weeds and dig in plenty of well-rotted manure and then plant at 2m intervals. Each spring, mulch well with well-rotted manure.
Cut back all the canes to just above ground level in late winter or early spring each year. As soon as the new growth starts to emerge, you should start feeding them with a good fertiliser and begin spraying for pests and diseases if necessary. When the canes have reached 1m tall, 'soft-tip' them by removing the top 2 to 5cm of growth. This will encourage the stems to branch and therefore increase the yield. Ideally this 'soft-tipping' should be done before the flower buds are produced as removing the flowers will delay the crop and reduce the yield.
To grow as a primocane (ie producing two, smaller crops each year), cut back the new spring stems, which have produced fruit at their tips in autumn, to a point just below where the blackberries were produced, soon after they have finished cropping. These half-canes can then be left to overwinter, will put on new top growth in spring and will then go on to produce the first crop of berries in early summer. After these two year old canes have finished fruiting they should be cut right back to their base. In the meantime, new canes will have emerged from the base of the plant in spring and these should be tied onto their support as they grow. These new canes will then produce the second, later crop and should have their tops lopped off after fruiting. This then creates a repeating cycle.
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Q:Vegetable suggestions for a shady veg. garden!
Hello I have raised beds for veggies in my new garden. One bed gets sun most of the day whilst the other gets only a little sunshine .Could you please help with a list of fruit and veg to grow in each of them. Many thanksAsked on 7/4/2010 by Judith
A:Hello There, I'm afraid you will have trouble getting a bumper yield of any of the edible crops if the bed receives little sun, as most of them need full sun. Ones that tolerate some shade include radish, potato, borage, horseradish, blueberry, blackberry and tayberry - all the others will flourish in the sun. I hope this helps. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 8/4/2010 by Crocus Helpdesk
Q:Can I plant Blackberry and Raspberry canes in November?
Can you help please? Should the Blackberry and Raspberry canes be planted out now in November? Thank youAsked on 7/12/2009 by K Win
A:Hello There, They should go in the ground as soon as possible, but avoid planting during periods when the soil is either frozen or waterlogged. I hope this helps. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 8/12/2009 by Crocus Helpdesk
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