At the end of the growing year last year we moved and the new owner's did not want all the plants I had so I transplanted most of the blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, peach tree, apple tree and pear tree that was left after we moved. The raspberries for the most part did not take well to being transplanted. I would estimate 10% survived. Also, the Triple Crown blackberries did not respond well and I would estimate 10% of those survived. The Natchez however had almost a 100% survivability rate. I cut the Natchez back and perhaps that was the reason why, but I am starting to believe they are just a healthier plant. We actually got a few blackberries from the Natchez this year while we got none from the Triple Crown. The Natchez plants are large and healthy and the Triple Crown are small and sickly looking with only 5 plants left. Maybe it is the ground they are being grown in because they are located in slightly different spots so I could differentiate between the 2 varieties. Perhaps time will tell as I continue to amend the soil.
The Natchez grew the largest berries I have ever seen. The picture above was the largest berry I have ever seen. It was also the sweetest blackberry I have ever eaten. This year every ripe berry was sweet. I ate most of them myself and gave a few to the children. It was starkly different from last year's berries. It makes we wonder if it is rainfall amounts or does the dirt make the difference. This property's dirt is not as nutrient rich as the previous house. The previoius house had been pasture land for most of the last century and then just a hay field untilt the house was built. The dirt was beautiful, black and fluffy. This house was built in the 60s and the dirt is compacted clay. This house's dirt is red and hard.
I am thankful that I planted the Natchez when we moved. I almost gave up on them. In looking at my garden journal I had noted how they were a month earlier than the Triple Crown and for that reason I decided to plant 15 plants just to get early blackberries. I can't believe I would have missed out on such a great berry if I hadn't planted those plants. I am looking forward to more berries next year as well.
In projected forward we should have tons of berries again in 2016. I will probably buy some Natchez to see what we can do about getting more berries next year. All of the literature that I have read indicates to pinch the blooms off the first year for most all fruit plants. I have never been able to allow myself to do that. I have always thought if these plants were in the wild no one would pick the blooms off so why should I do that to these. I know that these are not in the wild and were transplanted by me and I should probably take care of them appropriately, but it is still hard for me. My way of getting more fruit so far has been just to plant more.