Growing Bountiful Berries

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Berries are ripe for the picking this time of year! Don’t have your own berry crop this year? NOW is the time to plan for your own fresh berries picked right from your backyard.

Delicious, juicy, versatile and affordable, too – on top of all that, berries are actually good for you!  What more could you want?  There is a real sense of satisfaction that comes from growing a successful crop of blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, gooseberries and more – even grapes!  So what’s stopping you?!  Read on for useful information and tips on growing a bounty of berries this summer in containers and in the ground.

Let’s start with growing berries in containers – a popular option due to growing in a controlled environment, saving space, and mobility!  Choose a spot with full sun (at least 6-8 hours daily) to produce the most berries.  Check the soil daily around your berries to make sure the soil is moist, but not wet.  Drainage is imperative!  Make sure the pot has drainage holes to avoid root rot.  Water your berry plant until the water runs out of the bottom holes.

A few specifics:  For raspberries, be sure to choose a dwarf variety and use a container 2-3 feet wide.  Organic fertilizers are best since you are going to eat the berries (that goes for ANY berry). You may get berries the first year but it often takes a couple years for them to bear significant fruit.

Blueberries – choose a pot that is a couple feet wide and look for a fertilizer specifically for acid-loving plants.  Unless it is the self-pollinating type, you’ll want at least two plants near each other for cross pollination purposes.

Because of their small root system, you don’t need as big a container for strawberries as for others – 18″ will do it, about 8″ deep.  We have special strawberry pots you can use (with side openings and a top opening) and some folks like to grow them in hanging baskets!  Use a bagged potting mix and – good news – they don’t much fertilizer at all.

When planting berries in-ground, be sure to mind the sun exposure and the soil condition, making adjustments to the soil as needed. Any of our store associates can help you determine what additives you need.

Blackberries are the best for growing in less-than-ideal soils.  Mound the soil around your berry plants so they are slightly raised and don’t plant them too deep.

Make sure your berry patch allows plenty of room in between plants so they can stretch!  Naturally, in-ground berry plants of any kind will yield more fruit than those grown in containers.  So if you have LOTS of berry lovers in the family or if you plant on harvesting berries for jams or jellies, creating your own berry patch in the ground is the way to go.  And as with container berries, organic fertilizers are your best choice – fortunately we have several to choose from!

These are just some general tips to peak your interest and show you that growing berries is really pretty easy and has tremendous rewards.  Keep in mind that most berry plants will take a couple years to really produce but they are more than worth the wait – and the sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll be enjoying them!  And the most important berry tip of all:  No guessing!  If you are not sure what to do when planting, just ask us!  That’s exactly what we are here for!

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