Are you looking for something a bit different to grow this year?
Growing berries in your garden add a splash of color, and they’re a tasty treat for all the family. But if you’ve never branched out into berries before, you might not know where to start.
Don’t worry! Read on to discover the 7 best berries to grow in your backyard this year.
Due to acai health benefits, and the fact they’re pretty rare they can be an expensive choice. But they’re the best berries to grown indoors or in containers. The dwarf acai berry palm will grow 20-30ft tall if planted in the ground. If grown in a planter, the size reduces to around 10-12ft.
It will take around 3 years, sometimes longer, to mature and produce berries. This isn’t a low maintenance option though and can take time, space, and patience. You’ll need a large container for it, or you’ll need to keep replanting as it grows.
A subtropical, warm climate is best for acai palms to grow in, so they might not be the best choice for colder areas. Though, you can use a greenhouse for them if you have one large enough.
A real family favorite, you can plant your strawberries in spring, summer, or fall. Fall is the best time though, as your plant’s root systems will grow and strengthen in the cooler months. You’ll be ready for a bushy growth come spring full of vitality.
If you plant in spring, you’ll have to disbud these young plants as they’ll grow flowers. Otherwise, they can pinch back runner and you won’t get as healthy growth the next season.
To get a longer lasting harvest season, plant two types of strawberries. One early, and one late fruiting. Your local agricultural center will be able to recommend varieties for your area.
If you’re looking for something tasty and functional, blackberries are a great choice. Their big, floppy, rambling nature makes them great hedging plants. And it’s fun for all the family to pick from them when they fruit. It’s a quick, easy way to hide an ugly fence or section off an area.
Of everything on our list, blackberries are the easiest berries to grow. They can survive in cold, harsher climes due to their hardiness. They also function as climbers. So, train them over arches, pergolas, and trellises to create a decorative feature. Get creative!
They even work for backyards where you’re short on space. You can get varieties that don’t have thorns and are compact, designed to grow in containers. Here are a few extra tips to get you started:
- Blackberries are self-fertile so you don’t have to worry about getting loads of plants to get a good crop.
- Plant in the sun; the more sun the more berries unless you’re in a hotter climate then they do need some shade midday.
- Provide regular watering during their first growing season to get their root system extensive and deep.
- Put down a 3-inch organic mulch layer each year but keep the mulch 2 inches from the crown to stop any rotting.
Don’t plant brambles, better known as raspberries, until early spring or late fall. Give them room to grow and don’t put them anywhere you want something ‘pretty’ to be. You can control the spread by planting in raised beds or digging them out on a regular basis.
Provide mulch for your raspberries and it’s a good side to use a fungicide as a preventative. This will help prolong the life of your raspberry patch.
To keep them tidy and well maintained, cut them back after each fruiting season. You can also prune out some of the older, brown stalks in winter (or very early in spring). It might not be the most attractive option, but the berries are great on yogurt and for pies and jams.
Another great option for container growers is blueberries. They’re a treat to eat and to look at. In spring, you’ll get delightful, scented flowers, and in autumn they turn fiery in color. And in the summer, you get that beautiful crop of delicious berries.
They need an acid (ericaceous) soil to grow in, but you can get this at your local garden center. They’re low maintenance but you’ll have to wait about 3 years for any fruit. In the meantime, at least they’ll make a beautiful patio decoration.
If space is at a total premium, there is a very compact variety of blueberry called “Top Hat”. But whatever your variety, water them with rainwater. Lime in tap water can reduce the acidity of your soil as time goes on.
For a pretty looking berry bush, the current bush may be a good choice. It’s got dainty, lobed leaves much like fancier maples. They branch out and have an airy appearance, with tiny berries that come in red, white, pink, and black shades.
They’re also a great option to fit into more formal, strict landscapes. You can train them into standard shapes. Current bushes even work as stand-alone ornamental plants on patios or porches.
The berries themselves (redcurrants, blackcurrants, and whitecurrants) are some of the best berries to grow for jams and jellies. They also work in cooking sauces and for decorating desserts. They also take well to freezing, so you can enjoy them all year round.
If you’re thinking of getting currents, consider getting gooseberries alongside them. Gooseberries grow particularly well when you plant them near current bushes.
For better tasting berries, position them away from the harsh afternoon sun. But make sure they can get plenty of cooler, morning sunlight.
Give them regular sprinklings of potash (or a berry fertilizer) around the base. This encourages prolific fruiting and flowers throughout the season.
Pick half the crop in midsummer to get bigger berries. The unripened berries you can use in wines, sauces, and pies. The berries left behind are quick to grow in size and will be sweeter.
By: Dale Harris