I am eagerly awaiting fresh ripe blackberries from the first plant from three years ago. Last year, there were a couple of handfuls of berries and they were delicious.
The two big takeaways from last year?
First, the blackberry grows the cane the first year, and produces fruit on it the second year. After the cane has produced fruit, it is important to remove the spent canes. This helps to prevent the plant viruses that raspberries and blackberries tend to suffer from.
Second, I have read that if you prune the tips of the primary cane, the plant will put much more energy into growing the lateral canes. These are the ones that bear fruit.
Given the deer population, it is no surprise that they did the pruning for me! They ate the tips of the canes wherever they could reach. As a result, the plant is all lateral canes, and covered with unripe berries which have now started to change color.
Today I went out and added bird netting to the fortifications. Fingers crossed!