Easiest Cane Fruit to Grow

If you grew up picking berries in the woods, chances are you are already familiar with at least one cane berry fruit, the blackberry. Cane berries, like blackberries and raspberries, grow on hard cane-like stems. Raspberries and blackberries can both be grown in your home garden. Here, we will look at the health benefits of these berries and provide step-by-step instructions on growing your berries.

Health Benefits

First, blackberries should not be confused with black raspberries. You can tell them apart by looking at the stem. When picking black raspberries, there will be a hollow instead of a stem. Blackberries have the stem on them when picked.

Blackberries are full of antioxidants that provide you with anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. Further health benefits include:

  • Digestion: Blackberries are a great source of insoluble fiber that aids digestion. Diets high in fiber are important to your colon health.
  • Diabetes: Managing diabetes can be difficult. Blackberries are good for managing your insulin resistance, which is important in managing diabetes.
  • Triglycerides: Blackberries are beneficial in managing triglyceride levels.
  • Obesity: Because blackberries positively affect insulin resistance, your body will burn more fat when you add blackberries to your diet.

Raspberries are also beneficial to your health. This red berry is filled with Vitamin C and antioxidants that are known to aid in preventing heart disease. Other benefits of this little powerhouse include:

  • Blood Pressure: Filled with potassium, raspberries are excellent for lowering blood pressure and helping with proper heart function.
  • Stroke and heart disease: The omega-3 fatty acids in raspberries have been shown to reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease.
  • Bones and Skin: The manganese in raspberries helps promote healthy skin and strong bones. Manganese also assists in regulating blood sugar.

Now that we know how raspberries and blackberries benefit our health let’s look at some varieties and how to plant them.

 Choosing the Right Varieties

When selecting blackberry and raspberry varieties, consider factors such as climate, growth habits, and fruit characteristics. Some popular blackberry varieties include:

  1. Marionberry: A classic, thorned blackberry with high-quality fruit.
  2. ‘Triple Crown’: A thornless, semi-erect variety with high yields and excellent fruit quality.
  3. ‘Ouachita’: A thornless, erect variety with large, firm berries and good disease resistance.

Popular raspberry varieties include:

  1. June bearing raspberries: These produce berries during the second year.
  2. Everbearing: These produce twice, once in June and a second in late fall.

Once you decide which plants you want, you have to choose how you want to plant.

Bucket Planting or Ground Planting

You can plant your berries in buckets or on the ground; it’s completely up to you. If you choose to bucket plant, you can plant your berries any time of the year. If you want to plant in the ground, you must wait until spring when the ground is warm. You will have berries faster when you plant in buckets.

Site Selection and Preparation

Blackberries and raspberries thrive in well-draining soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. Choose a sunny location that receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily. Avoid planting in areas where tomatoes, potatoes, or eggplants have been grown recently, as they can harbor soil-borne diseases that affect the berries.

Before planting, remove any weeds and grass from the area. Add fertilizer, manure, or compost to the soil. If the soil doesn’t drain well, add rock or raise the planting bed to ensure water drainage. Water buildup can cause plant rot.

 Ground and Bucket Planting

Ground planting

  • Space rows 8-10 feet apart
  • Space plants 3-4 feet apart could vary depending on the variety planted.
  • Dig a hole equal to the depth of the container the plant comes in from the nursery.
  • Place the plant in the ground.
  • Water the plants.
  • Add a 2–3-inch layer of mulch, such as straw or wood chips, to retain moisture and stop weed growth.

Bucket Planting

  • Fill buckets with soil that has been enriched with fertilizer.
  • Make a hole equal to the size and depth of the plant’s container.
  • Put the plant in the hole and water well.
  • Cover the hole with soil and mulch.

After planting, you must trellis your berries to support them as they grow. This keeps the canes off the ground and makes picking your berries much easier.

Install a t-trellis or a post and wire system before the canes grow. As growth emerges, tie the canes to the trellis or posts for support.


Pruning is important for keeping your blackberry and raspberry plants healthy and productive. The specific pruning method depends on the type of berry.

For summer-bearing raspberries and erect blackberries:

  1. Remove the canes that have produced fruit immediately after harvest.
  2. Remove any weak, damaged, or diseased canes in late winter or early spring, and thin the remaining canes to about 6-8 per foot.
  3. Trim the remaining canes to 4-5 feet high to encourage branching and fruit production.

For fall-bearing raspberries and semi-erect blackberries:

  1. Remove all the canes to ground level in late winter or early spring.
  2. As new canes emerge, thin them to about 6-8 per foot.
  3. In midsummer, tip the new canes to encourage branching and fruit production when they reach 3-4 feet high.

Watering and Fertilizing

Blackberries and raspberries require consistent moisture throughout the growing season. Water the plants deeply and regularly, providing 1-2 inches per week, depending on rainfall and soil type. Avoid overhead watering, as it can promote disease; use drip irrigation or a soaker hose to deliver water directly to the soil.

Fertilize blackberries and raspberries in early spring before new growth starts. Apply a balanced fertilizer according to the manufacturer’s directions. Do not over-fertilize; this leads to less fruit and more vegetation.

Pest and Disease Management

Blackberries and raspberries are susceptible to various pests and diseases, including:

  1. Raspberry cane borer: A small beetle that causes wilting and cane death. Prune and destroy affected canes to control the pest.
  2. Japanese beetles: These metallic green beetles feed on the leaves and fruits of cane berries. Hand-pick the beetles or use an insecticide to control them.
  3. Gray mold (Botrytis fruit rot): A fungal disease that causes berries to develop a gray, fuzzy mold. Improve air circulation by pruning and avoiding overhead watering.
  4. Anthracnose: A fungal disease that causes sunken, gray spots on the canes and fruit. Remove and destroy infected canes and apply a fungicide to control the disease.

Regularly monitor your plants for signs of pests and diseases, and take appropriate action to prevent or control them. Proper plant spacing, pruning, and sanitation minimize the risk of pest and disease problems.

Harvesting and Storage

Depending on the variety, black and raspberries are typically ready for harvest 1-2 years after planting. Berries are ripe when they easily detach from the plant and have developed their full color and flavor. Harvest berries in the morning when cool and firm, and avoid picking wet berries to reduce the risk of mold.

To extend the shelf life of your berries, store them in a single layer in a shallow container in the refrigerator. Blackberries and raspberries are highly perishable and should be consumed within 2-3 days of harvest for the best quality. If you have a surplus of berries, consider freezing them for later use in smoothies, jams, or baked goods.

Growing blackberries and raspberries can be a fun and rewarding experience for home gardeners. You can enjoy a bountiful harvest of these delicious and nutritious berries by selecting the right varieties, preparing the planting site, and providing proper care and maintenance. With patience and attention to detail, you can create a thriving cane berry patch that will provide fresh fruit for years to come.

Make plans to attend our cane berry sale, Saturday, March 30th. You can find more information about the sale at Stoney Creek Farm. You can also access our gardening class online at YouTube to learn more about growing your own garden or email us at StoneyCreekFarmTennessee@gmail.com for answers to your questions and access to our materials.