If you are lucky enough to live somewhere untainted by Himalayan blackberry then do your best to keep it that way. This insidious invader would probably consume Farcical Farm in four or five years if left to its own devices.
On Friday afternoon Black Jack's Carol got tangled in a blackberry cane while she was cycling home from work, resulting in a pretty serious accident. With her in mind I trespassed onto our neighbour's property this afternoon and spent a couple of hours hacking away at one thicket that constantly sends tendrils over our fence. Himalayan blackberry is not your garden variety (punny!) weed. A mature stalk measures about 1 inch in diameter and is covered with thick, sharp thorns that can penetrate denim, leather and even cheap rubber. At risk to life and limb I brought this one inside to photograph for you:
Canes grow upwards out of a central stock, then bend to trail along the ground. These snake-like vines can easily reach 10 meters in length and they are practically invisible in tall grass. If you have horses they are akin to having lengths of barbed wire hidden in the pasture -- not nearly as dangerous, but still a hazard. The vines can put down roots anywhere along their length, and the huge root systems are so resource-greedy that they can survive entire seasons with minimal photosynthetic support from the above-ground plants. The only non-chemical ways to kill this hearty foe are (1) thorough and sustained culling of all above-ground stalks, followed by burning of the material, and (2) complete destruction of the root system. Option #1 generally takes three diligent years, keeping in mind that bears, birds and other wildlife are constantly eating and redistributing the seeds.
Of course Himalayan blackberry does produce blackberries -- big sweet ones by the thousands in the fall. It is the plant's only redeeming quality.