I'm a zone 3 gardener and want blackberries. I've been looking at the Himalayen and Chickasaw varieties. But I value gardeners opinions on their selections. Any opinions here on what you grow and how they do for you.
Had a link talking about a newer and greater variety but deleted it for some reason. Was thornless and great for my zone. Think Michigan develped it but not sure who did. Any ideas???
I am NOT an expert! But, I wouldn't touch Himalaya with a 50' pole. To me, they taste horrible. I've had better tasting cardboard. They are hardy, though, I will give them that. So hardy that they will take over. Other than that, the only one I have experience with is Marion berries. I'm in zone 3/4 and with babying, they do alright. I have the most trouble getting the canes not to freeze, the root has survived all sorts of interesting experiences over the years and movings. I build a wall around my bed with straw bales every winter and then fill that with loose straw, heaping. Top that with flakes of straw. I get about a 75% survivability of the canes and do get berries. I suspect I would get a lot more if we can stop moving every 2 years. I've discovered that you really have to watch the spring frosts. I've lost more plants to that, than to fall frosts or winter.
The spring Jung Seed's catalog has two new varieties of everbearing blackberries that might work (Prime Jim and Prime Jan). They're listed for zones 4-8, but they sound pretty promising. Apparently, they produce on new growth and are everbearing. I'm in zone 3, too and was thinking about buying some to give them a try.
Hmmm more food for thought. Willamette Valley is about 4 hours from me but vastly different climates. But if you say that the Himalayan can take over, plus needing so much protection, not sure I'm up for that. Already chasing Raspberries. Was thinking about planting them in an old leaky cattle trough, buried in the ground to help corral the roots. Thanks, I will check out the others you mentioned.
I am experimenting with the Primes. Planted them two years ago. The plants are doing great, but I think they could use a longer growing season than my zone 4 - SD. The Prime Jim has done the best of the two as far as getting berries, but we have had cold/wet summers for two years now. Maybe with more heat I will get better results.
I would try ordering from a source in Maine. We had them growing wild all over the place. Fedco is based in Maine and I know there is a huge organic gardening/farming group there called MOFGA. They might be able to provide you with a source.