Each person, endowed with a garden plot, seeks to grow on it both healthy fruits and vegetables and berries that are easy to care for, which will become a pleasant addition to the daily menu and decoration of the courtyard. Often raspberries, gooseberries and blackberries play this role. The latter is loved by gardeners because it is low in calories, but at the same time contains a full set of micronutrients and medicinal substances. A popular, unpretentious and high-yielding blackberry variety is Loch Ness.
The history of the appearance of the blackberry Loch Ness
The Loch Ness variety is relatively young, since it was obtained by the Englishman Derek Jennings in 1990. The creation is based on European types of blackberries, logan berries and raspberries. It is noteworthy that Jennings discovered the gene raspberries L1, which causes large-fruited, which was later used in breeding. Most of the varieties bred on the basis of this gene showed yields and an unprecedented size of berries weighing 6 grams or more (in some cases, there are fruits weighing 16, 18 and even 23 grams). The L1 raspberry variety became the ancestor of the Loch Ness blackberry, recognized as successful and awarded by the Royal Society of British Gardeners.
Photo Gallery: Loch Ness Blackberries - From Bloom to Harvest
Description of the variety
Loch Ness blackberry grows in all Russian regions and is popular among gardeners in the Moscow region and the Moscow region. The bush is semi-creeping, outwardly looks compact and neat, although untimely thinning of the shoots causes thickening. The crown is semi-vertical, the branches are dense, smooth, thornless. The height of the shoots is over four meters, while the rods are erect from below, and creeping from above. This feature of the bush requires either pruning or the installation of vertical trellises, which will support plant.
To ensure the growth of the blackberry bush, vertical trellises should be installed, otherwise the rods will bend under the weight of the berries
Ripe berries are black and elongated, one-dimensional, with a shiny surface.
The juice made from ripe fruits and young blackberry leaves has a strengthening and calming effect on the body.
The average weight of berries is 5–10 g. The pulp is juicy, dense, with a pronounced characteristic aroma. At the stage of technical ripeness, the taste of the berries is sour, but when fully ripe, the fruits become sweet and sugary. Due to the pronounced black color of the berries, gardeners mistake technical ripeness for full and remain dissatisfied with the sour taste.
Loch Ness is famous for its large, heavy fruits that can grow up to 23 g
Blackberry strengthens the immune system and stabilizes the body after serious illnesses.
Useful properties of Loch Ness blackberries
The peculiarity of the variety is that the berries contain little vitamin C, but they contain vitamins A and E, niacin, thiamine, beta-carotene and riboflavin, tannins, phenols and glycosides, as well as organic acids. The proven benefits of Loch Ness when consumed regularly are:
- has a beneficial effect on the heart muscle, minimizing the likelihood of a heart attack;
- normalizes blood pressure;
- cleans and strengthens the walls of blood vessels;
- neutralizes inflammation of internal organs;
- accelerates the passage of bile, the removal of stones from the kidneys;
- improves blood composition, slows down cell aging;
- stabilizes the work of the gastrointestinal tract;
- helps to cope with viruses, normalizes body temperature;
- prevents psychosomatic disorders and neuroses.
Characteristics of the variety
One of the advantages of Loch Ness blackberries is undemanding to the composition of the soil (although moist sod-podzolic loams with an abundance of humus are considered preferable for growing this variety). In addition, the bushes are resistant to diseases and frost-resistant. Blackberries do not need to be covered for the winter - at temperatures ranging from -17–20 ° C, the bushes will not be affected. However, experienced gardeners still advise not to take risks.
Blackberries of this variety are collected in multiple clusters, so their collection is not difficult.
Although the Loch Ness blackberry is unpretentious, the bush will bear fruit and delight with the harvest only with an attentive attitude to itself. Therefore, both landing and follow-up care are important.
When the roots of the mother bush are damaged, the plant quickly forms root shoots. Loch Ness propagates mainly by rooting the tops, although other methods are also practiced:
- green cuttings or rooted tops;
- summer or autumn woody shoots;
- air layering;
- dividing the bush.
Thornless varieties are not propagated by root cuttings - in this case, thorny plants will turn out from them. Loch Ness seedlings take root and bear fruit already in the second year of life. Blackberries are mid-ripening, ripening of berries occurs in the second decade of August, although in some areas it happens two weeks later. The brushes are ripening gradually, so the harvest lasts 1–1.5 months. The process of collecting itself does not cause difficulties, since there are no thorns on the bush, and the berries are formed on the lateral branches. On average, 15 kg of berries are harvested from one bush, and experienced gardeners are of the opinion that caring for an adult plant increases the yield to 25-30 kg. At the same time, the berries do not lose their presentation and calmly tolerate transportation, therefore the Loch Ness variety is often grown for commercial purposes.
Planting activities begin in early spring. For planting, illuminated, windless areas without pits and depressions are chosen. Landing takes place according to the following scheme:
- Prepare pits for seedlings 40x40x40 cm in size. At the same time, take into account that the blackberry needs free space, so a distance of 1.5-2.5 m is maintained between the bushes. If you plan to plant the plants in rows, the gap between them is at least two meters. With mechanized processing of plantings, row spacings are made at least three meters.
- A mixture of fertilizers is laid at the bottom of the pit: 5 kg of compost or humus, 50 g of potassium salt and 100 g of superphosphate. Top dressing is thoroughly mixed with the ground and additionally covered with a layer of soil so that young seedlings do not burn.
- Each plant is placed in a pit, spreading the roots from top to bottom. Root buds 2–4 cm below ground level. Having placed the seedling in a proper way, cover the hole with soil.
- A freshly planted bush is watered, the hole is mulched with compost (for example, straw or humus), and the aboveground part of the seedling is shortened to 25 cm.
- In order to avoid difficulties in care in the future, immediately after planting, a support is placed next to the seedlings - a two-meter trellis with three rows of wire at a height of 50–75 cm, 120–140 cm and 180 cm. As they grow, the shoots are attached to the support - first to the lower row wire, then to the middle, and at the end to the top. Fasten the branches in a zigzag manner, braiding around the support. The height of the trellises is not more than the width of the row spacings, otherwise the adjacent rows will lack light.
- To prevent the growth of weeds, the soil between the rows is mulched with straw, sawdust, peat or black agrofibre.
Caring for blackberry bushes
In the first year of life, the bush does not need care - the plant is watered as the soil dries out and the soil between the rows is loosened in the absence of covering material. If there is no mulch near the blackberry bushes, the soil is loosened carefully, since damage to the roots of Loch Ness and similar thornless varieties provokes the growth of thorny basal shoots.
When pruning blackberries in the autumn, the fruiting branches are harvested at the root, leaving no stumps
From the second year, the plant is looked after according to traditional agricultural technology:
- In May, spring pruning is carried out, the shoots are shortened by 15–20 cm and the lateral growths are trimmed to stimulate flowering.
- The growing branches are fixed on the support - this makes it easier to process the bush and harvest. The Loch Ness variety is attached to the trellis in a fan-shaped manner, separating the growing branches from the fruiting ones.
- Periodically, the plant is sprayed with sulfur solutions to exclude fungal infections and mite infestations.
- Blackberries growing in arid conditions do not accumulate the required amount of sweetness in the berries and stops the growth of young shoots. Therefore, for normal development and fruiting, you should constantly maintain a moderate moisture content in the soil in which the berry grows. To do this, the bushes are regularly watered and mulched with a five-centimeter layer of compost, grass or humus. Sometimes bark and needles are added to the mulch. Excess moisture with frequent watering provokes damage to berries and the development of fungi.
- The appearance of weeds near berry bushes will slow down the growth of shoots and the development of fruits. Weeding is needed so that the grass does not draw useful trace elements from the soil.
- From the third to fourth year of life, blackberries are regularly fertilized. In the spring, nitrogenous fertilizing is introduced (ammonium nitrate, urea, humus). In September-October, the plant is fertilized with phosphorus-potassium fertilizers that do not contain chlorine.
- In the first autumn months, the second pruning is carried out, the branches that bear fruit are removed and the lateral growths are trimmed. The bushes are thinned out, leaving 4-6 shoots to combat thickening of blackberries and prevent fungal diseases. When carrying out autumn pruning, do not leave the stumps after removing excess shoots.
- For winter, blackberries are covered by bending branches to the ground and covered with peat, sawdust or leaves. The branches are removed from the support and carefully rolled up in a ring or laid on the ground along with the wire. Covering material and agrofibre or plastic wrap are placed on top. Poison for mice is left between the stems.
Reviews of gardeners about the Loch Ness variety
Video: secrets of growing blackberries
The Loch Ness blackberry with its bright taste and decorative qualities fell in love with gardeners. The branches on the trellis are covered with flowers at the beginning of summer, and at the end of the season they are covered with black berries. Blackberry bushes resemble a hedge and adorn the courtyard. This unpretentious cultivar is suitable both for growing treats for one family and for commercial use.
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