This post was first published in April of 2008.
I love growing blackberries, raspberries, and Concord Grapes. They’re easy to care for and produce a decent amount of fruit after the first year. My husband loves to turn our Concord Grapes into jelly to give to his coworkers at Christmas time.
We have several types of fruiting vines growing in our yard – black raspberry, raspberry, concord grape, and grape. The blackberry, raspberry, and concord grape are established vines and have been in place for about five years. The grape is only two years old.
Blackberries and Raspberries
We grow our blackberries at the end of the vegetable garden next to the driveway. Unlike the regular raspberries, these vines are thornless and disease resistant. Their fruit is large, black and easy to pick. The blackberries will also start new plants if the vines touch the ground. The only maintenance I do is removing the dead vines each spring and pruning back the other vines to within the wire supports.
To support the vines and contain them, we installed an old fence post and ran heavy gauge wire from the post to the fence that runs along the outside of our property. The vines grow up between the rows of wire.
These vines cost about $10 to $15 for a box of 3 – 4 plants at Home Depot.
Because of the easy propagating of the vines, I was able to start a new bed behind our house suing the same support system we used for the blackberries by the driveway. In this same bed we have regular red raspberries for variety. These do have thorns and are not as prolific or hardy as the blackberries. If you’re interested in growing raspberries, I would recommend the black ones.
In the picture above, you can see two more vines growing up against the cement wall. These are our regular grapes which are only two years old. So far they haven’t produced any fruit, but it is my hope that they will this year.
We grow our concord grapes next to the back porch. I couldn’t find a picture of the grape vines in all their greenery, but this picture of the climbing rose from the front side of the porch shows how well the iron railing on the porch can support climbing plants. I am able to weave the grape vines in and out of the upright portions of the railing without much effort.
Our concord grapes have been mostly maintenance free with the occasional pruning of the older vines. The only hazard associated with the vines is the presence of bees after the grapes ripen. As long as I’ve stayed on top of harvesting the grapes, we haven’t had any problems with bees. Given our experience so far with the concord grapes, I would definitely recommend them as a home-grown crop.
All of my vines have come from our local Home Depot. The store usually sells boxes of 2 – 4 plants in the spring for under $15. The kiwi were in 8 inch pots, but still reasonably priced.
Manual of Woody Landscape Plants: Their Identification, Ornamental Characteristics, Culture, Propogation and Uses
The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation: From Seed to Tissue Culture, Second Edition