I've heard the horror stories of blackberry bushes that grow exponentially and I'm a little scared. Last year my mother found wild blackberries growing in her hedge and I was really hoping to get a cutting this year for my garden. I want to put a berry patch in my garden this spring with raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. I already have a strawberry plant established. I live in Ottawa, Canada (for anyone who might have some possibly local suggestions) and I was wondering if there is a way to make sure they don't take over the garden? Would it be worth it to grow these berries in a (roughly) 24' X 48' backyard?
I want to make my entire backyard edible and I particularly love blackberries.
I'd also pay a few $ for thornless: I don't like ripping myself to shreds on thorns. I also think, why spend the rest of your life attempting to control the ravening beast that is wild blackberry? Ok, that's a bit dramatic, but a rampant bramble-patch is a heck of a legacy!
All brambles, wild or domesticated require a certain amount of annual maintanance. If you are rural, you could just let them go wild (not recommended), but in an urban/suburban environment, training/trellising are a must. Fresh, ripe berries are the perfect end to a season!
All I've had are the thorny free kind until this year. The original 8-10 plants have made another 20-30 in 3 years, but not at all hard to remove the new ones. I've been planting them all over the place. On my original ~10 plant row, just today I re-trellised it(storm blew my wooden one down-now using metal posts and rope), including transplanting new small plants, and clipping back some of the super long shoots. It took me all of an hour or so. This is once a year, and you can spend literally HOURS eating the berries. I also stopped by my friends where he had transplanted some last year in spring, and he's now moving, so I dug them out, and there were tons of long root systems already--like 2-3 feet long extending out from the stalk location, so if you really don't want them to spread it may not be the best idea to plant them in the first place. On another note--some other wild blackberries(or maybe black raspberries) I have are not root-spreading. They only spread by falling over and rooting from the stem. They have a red stem and thorns, but make much smaller(and a little tastier) berries.