This morning I got to pick the first blackberry I had ever grown. I didn't even know you could grow blackberries in Phoenix until I was about 20. Ever since then I had wanted to and when I bought my house I tried (and killed) several blackberry plants and pretty much gave up on it.
Fast forward to about a year ago. My husband and I were riding bikes around the neighborhood on our way to visit the house that had heritage breed turkeys for awhile. No, not legally, but no one complained. You could see the pen from the street and I think a lot of people like made a point to go by that house just to watch the turkeys. Anyway, we stopped at a yard sale a couple doors down. I bought a little birdcage to use as a hospital cage for small birds for $5 and I noticed he had a huge hedge of blackberries. Long story short: we rode our bikes home with a birdcage and a gallon bag of blackberries. He invited us to come back later with a shovel and dig up a few. We did. I planted them. Two out of five survived and I now have blackberries. I recently found out that they grow 'wild' in the irrigation ditch a street over and an awesome neighbor whom I've recently befriended happens to live next to that ditch and brought us 8 or 9 plants of which a few are starting to leaf out. These are not the thornless 25 gallons of berries per plant you see advertised in the catalogs and magazines, they are good old-fashioned very thorny blackberries. It makes them a little rough on the hands, but it also means they're a little rough on predators. I've planted them against the fence to the chicken pen and against where I plan to build a big quail aviary in the fall, so now they can serve two purposes.
A big day indeed.