Though the picture isn’t much to look at, that is one of the 7 blackberry canes I transplanted earlier this week. They are part of my Phase I permaculture implementation. Besides providing habitat and food, it will eventually form a hedge along the eastern edge of the property to help keep the fisherman out of our yard as they walk to the stream. Should another serious flood occur, they will bear the brunt of the damage and debris coming into the yard.
It has been a nearly a year to get them to this point. Using directions I looked up on the web last year, I dug out all the first year sucker canes in early April, just as they were coming into leaf. This was a few weeks late, as Mid-March is about right.
When getting them out of the ground care was taken to preserve as much of the root stem as possible. I potted each one in it’s own 1 gallon pot with my preferred potting medium: straight Organic Endeavors compost. Placed in the side yard they received limited full sun and set leaves well through the summer. No special care was given to get them through the winter and they remained there. The heavy snowfall Pennsylvania received this year served as good insulation.
As I pulled the pots up for transfer, the roots had snaked out and into the ground around them. A bit of work was required to loosen them and minimize damage but was promising for my transplant success. Tossing them in the wheelbarrow and grabbing a digging spade, my little lovelies and I headed to the field.
The warmed, moist soil made digging easy on the warm spring afternoon. Each hole was prepared and planted individually, with the compost and plant going in together and topped off with the extracted dirt. These were allowed to settle into the picture you see above. A few days later they will get a top dressing of a few more inches of compost and a layer of mulch. What will be used for mulch is up in the air at the moment, but I am thinking leaf mold from beneath the maple or some shredded newsprint.
Potting brambles for transplant provided older canes with well established root systems. The process was simple and didn’t take too much time. Though still too early to tell if they will flourish, I have good expectations that they will.
The next stage in this experiment is to transplant freshly dug canes into the field. I have a few dozen that need to come out of my wife’s flower bed.