Grandma’s Thornless Boysenberries
We picked our first boysenberries today!
I’ve picked my fair share of blackberries and boysenberries but I’ve never grown them before. As a kid we used to pick blackberries by the gallon in a huge vacant lot near our cabin in Monte Rio, California. The plastic buckets hung from strings around our necks so that we could pick with both hands.
The berry patch was massive with tunnels and rows made from old planks that were smashed down over the vines. It was hot and humid. Our hands were purple, itchy, and sticky by the time we finished. We kept wet washcloths in the car for afterward.
At Phipp’s Country Store and Farm near Pescadero, CA, you can pick olallieberries and strawberries then cap it off with a day at the beach.
Our Thornless Boysenberries berries were given to us by Grandma Rita who lives with Grandpa Ed up in Washington. She occasionally brings us goodies. The lillies she gave us are just beginning to bloom.
A couple years ago she brought a hunk of thornless boysenberries from her wonderful garden. It was in a one-gallon can. We didn’t have a place to put it at the time, so I proceeded to abuse the poor plant. I moved the can around the garden and often forgot to water it. That berry plant died and came back to life many times before we finally planted it.
Eventually, we bought a trellis at Costco and set it up in the garden. I split the vine in two and planted one on each side of the trellis.
We don’t have the room to plant the berries in the “proper” manner, namely a one or two-wire trellis row as outlined below. Given this year’s production, I’m not too worried about it. Our thornless boysenberries are watered regularly and get VF-11 plant food weekly during the growing season.
To properly maintain boysenberries, you need to learn two new words: primocane and floracane. Primocanes are the new stems that grow this year. They do not produce berries in year one. The Floracanes are last year’s growth and produce this year’s flowers and berries.
PRUNING IN A NUTSHELL
1. After fruiting in the summer, cut floracanes down to the ground.
2. Tie this year’s primocanes onto trellis and prune to 6-8 ft.
3. Thin semi-upright varieties to 4-8 canes.
4. In early Spring, cut side branches back to 12 inches.
More blackberry tips: Pruning and Training Thornless Blackberries