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Garden Lifestyle

Berries!

If you want to grow fresh fruit in your yard, consider planting strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries.

  • Strawberries are the the first berries of the season.
    Photo/Illustration: Ruth Dobsevage
  • Wineberries are invasive, but delicious.
  • Blackberries produce reliably, year after year.
    Photo/Illustration: Pam Spaulding
  • Photo/Illustration: Ruth Dobsevage

One of my favorite things to do as a child was to forage for wild strawberries, and maybe that’s why I grow berries today. From June (strawberries) through July and August (raspberries, black raspberries, wineberries, blueberries, currants, elderberries), and into September (blackberries), there’s a steady supply of fruit for snacking, pancakes, desserts, smoothies, and jam, with enough left over to freeze for the winter. Whether you’re a gourmet cook or a minimalist in the kitchen, you’ll be delighted by the homegrown flavor, not to mention the low cost.

Berries aren’t difficult to grow, and once established, they require minimal maintenance. There’s pruning and picking, of course. Pruning is mostly a late winter task, and it’s a good excuse to be outside. Picking berries is a pleasant activity for the entire family (including the dog, if you have a berry-loving pet, as I do).

Strawberries may fruit the first year, but it’s better to pick off the blossoms so the plants can get established. Cane fruit (raspberries, black raspberries, blackberries, and wineberries) produce fruit in their second season. You’ll have to wait longer for blueberries and elderberries. After a few years, your berry patches will expand, and you’ll have plants to share with your friends.

If your edible landscaping plans include berries, check out the links below.

Growing berries:

Video Series: How to Grow Blueberries
Video Series: How to Grow Strawberries
How to Grow Raspberries
Raspberries: An Affordable Luxury in Tough Times
• Growing Upright Blackberries 
Thornless Blackberries 
• Wineberries
• Gooseberries
• Strawberry Growing Basics
• Blueberries as Edible Landscaping
• Alpine Strawberries 

Berries in the kitchen:

Granitas Capture the Flavors of Summer
Dried Strawberries are Sweet Morsels of Flavor
Quick Berry Sauces 
Cooking with Fresh Strawberries

Berry recipes:

Mixed Berry Granita
Strawberry Champagne Granita
• Blackberries in Pecan Crêpes 
Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins 
• Gooseberry and Sweet Cicely Cheesecake

Sources for berries:

Indiana Berry & Plant Co.
5218 W. 500 S.
Huntingburg, IN 47542
800-295-2226
Planting instructions

Nourse Farms
41 River Road
South Deerfield, MA 01373
413-665-2658
Planting instructions

Raintree Nursery
391 Butts Road
Morton, WA 98356
360-496-6400
Planting instructions

Simmons Plant Farm
11542 North Highway 71
Mountainburg, AR 72946
479-369-2345

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