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Thornless blackberry Loch Ness

a1154a1154 Sunny South Scotland Posts: 997
I’m helping in a garden shared by a group neighbours at the moment. There is a line of raspberries (don’t know what kind), and a line of blackberries. It’s overgrown and has not been well looked after. 
 In the summer the raspberries were fab. The blackberries were horrible. They shrivelled and died before they were ready really. One neighbour says he doesn’t think anyone has ever had any fruit from them. 
Is Loch Ness a bit rubbish? Shall I take them out? Or is there a good way of reinvigorating the plants? 
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  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 9,093
    edited 28 January
    I've seen Loch Ness available in the local supermarket, but I've not tried one.
    If you don't like the flavour, then I don't think re-invigorating the plant is going to change the taste.
    I done some research a while ago and bought a Waldo - it's well behaved, thornless and has large berries that are delicious. Berries are ready for picking around mid-July





    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • a1154a1154 Sunny South Scotland Posts: 997
    edited 28 January
    That looks like a nice variety Pete. 

    It’s not about not liking the flavour, there isn’t really any viable fruit. 
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 9,093
    I'm very pleased with it.
    I put nearly 6Kg in the freezer last year from the one plant.
    To keep them fruiting well, once all the berries have been picked you need to cut out all the stems that have produced berries just leaving the new stems that grew during the year and which will produce next yer's berries (the old canes are brown at the base the new canes are green). Once the old canes are out you tie in the new canes.
    Waldo only produces about 6-7 new canes each year, so it's quite easy to maintain, and for a blackberry it looks very attractive - mine is growing on one side of the patio.
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • UffUff SW Scotland but born in DerbyshirePosts: 2,186
    I like the look of that one Pete, I think I might just buy that. Thanks for the info.
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 9,093
    I'm sure you'll be pleased with it @Uff
    I got mine from Blackmoor Nurseries - it was a very good plant on arrival.
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,337
    Your variety look good to me too, @Pete.8
    I had Loch Ness, and it was a monster! 👹 :D
    Canes grew 3 to 4 metres tall, were inflexible (so not at all easy to train) and after a few years it was relentlessly popping-up new shoots several feet away from the main plant.  It came out last summer, but I expect I'll still be seeing new shoots from the deep root system for a few years yet..

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 9,093
    a1154 said:
    That looks like a nice variety Pete. 

    It’s not about not liking the flavour, there isn’t really any viable fruit. 
    If you don't want to take it out, then you could cut out  as many as you can of the canes that still have the shriveled flower stems on. That should leave you with some fresh canes to fruit in the summer and see how it goes.
    You can be brutal with them - it's just a bramble after all.
    I give mine a good handful of blood, fish and bone in late Feb and a mulch in the autumn and that's all it gets
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • Simone_in_WiltshireSimone_in_Wiltshire WiltshirePosts: 291
    edited 29 January
    @a1154
    Unfortunately, I don't have a single picture of what our blackberries looked like. I just check the name, the label only says Blackberry, unfortunately, but it is thornless too.
    When we bought our plant in Autumn 2019, we planted it between two posts, which were a relict from a time when wire-mesh fence was used. The posts are 1 meter high and 4 meters apart. They have two holes in about 50 cm and 90 cm height. I connected them with wire.
    By chance, I did as Monty said (later in a GW episode): I grew a left and a right shoot of 2 meters each side along the wire. I cut the new side shoots coming in Autumn so that the plant had just the bare shoot to the left and right. Over the Spring, it got so many flowers, bees went crazy. Over the summer, I collected daily around a kilogram of fruit (our neighbours no longer opened the door when I knocked on the door after the 5th or so time). That went on for two months. I left many of the berries on the ground for wild-life (and it was gone the next day!)
    Over the summer, I kept two new shoots that had the right angle to go sidewards and trained them to the upper wire. Again, I cut back all other shoots.
    In Autumn, I cut back the old two shoot and did the same with the new two shoots: No longer than the two meters and all new side shoots had to go. I then mulched it.
    I don't know if the Spring will be as successful as the first year, but this method kept the amount and length of shoots under control and I had so many berries, unbelievable and all perfect.
    Blackberries like it dry (not too dry, I watered them now and then) and sunny, and they need fresh air. Cramped uncontrolled along a fence, they don't like that.
    Monty said that blackberries get more fruit if they grow sidewards. Maybe you can get a wire in angle of maximum 45 degrees. You need two wire lines so that the next year's shoots can start to grow in Summer.
    I hope it helps.

    If you are wondering why the avatar is a penguin, yes, I'm a Linux user.

  • PosyPosy Isle of Wight.Posts: 3,437
    I don't grow blackberries but I normally pick a good many delicious wild ones. They were dreadful, this year, here. Few in number, small and often shrivelled or mouldy. This was because of weather conditions. You may find that next year your cultivated fruit is fantastic.
  • Nel_StaffsNel_Staffs South Staffordshire Posts: 59
    After reading @Pete.8  post, I ordered a Waldo from Blackmoor. It arrived this morning 😊. 
    Ideally, I would like to grow it in a large pot on our South-facing patio.  It could be placed near the house wall, which has existing vine eyes, which could be utilised. 
    I have an empty terracotta pot which is 50cm tall and 48cm diameter at the top. Would this be OK?  Advice on growing medium would be much appreciated.  I love blackberries, so want to give it the best chance of thriving.  Thank you.  
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