How to Grow Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries and Blackberries
As I was out walking the property today I realized it’s the time of year to think about adding berries to your garden area. Berry plants need time to acclimate to their new surrounding and with the economy as strained as it is a Berry garden would be a perfect addition to your backyard garden areas.
photo credit: Caitlinator
Homegrown berries also offer you the opportunity for fresh non-chemical fruit just outside you door. With very little effort you can assemble a Berry Theme Garden that will supply you with fresh fruit and add beauty to your yard.
Berry facts and tips
- Every berry variety likes full sunlight and a well-drained soil
- Do not plant berry plants where tomatoes, potatoes, or eggplant has grown.
- Set out new berry plants as early in the spring as you can. This gives the plants time to adjust to the hot weather and transplant shock.
- Buy disease-free plants and varieties that claim to be disease resistant.
- Keep the plants roots moist before and during planting.
- Give ample space between plants for air circulation
- In the fall cover plants loosely with straw or the like as winter protection.
- Berry plants will thrive better with a south-or east-facing slope.
- Beware of planting berries in a hollow or bottom of a hill or an area that cold will collect.
- Mulch. Berry beds that are mulched will have less disease, retain moisture in the soil and need less weeding and care.
To start a strawberry bed
Dig rotted compost or aged manure into the soil and place the plants eight inches apart in rows 30 inches apart. Make sure the new leaf buds should be at soil level. (This is the biggest mistake people make when planting strawberries: they plant them too deep!) Water the plants in dry weather preferably in the morning and mulch using straw to preserve moisture. This will keep the ripened berries off the ground. Berries that lay on the ground tend to rot.
photo credit: Edgar Zuniga Jr.
How to start a blueberry bed.
Blueberries need generous rainfall and well-drained soil so place the garden in an area you can easily water.
Dig a trench or holes at least 2 feet deep and 3 feet wide and fill the trench with a mixture of 2 parts peat moss, 2 parts sand, and 1 part garden soil. For a successful blueberry garden its essential to take the time to prepare the soil properly! Space the plants about four feet apart. Mulch the plants heavily at planting time and every year add more straw, peat, or leaves.
How to start Blackberries, Raspberries, Loganberries, and Boysenberries.
These berry varieties need a moisture-retaining soil and a sunny spot to grow well. Before planting the berry bed, dig in plenty of manure or peat moss and compost. Space the Raspberry, Loganberry, and Boysenberry plants two to four feet apart in rows that are six to eight feet apart. Blackberries need even more space so allow 4 to 6 feet between plants and 6 to 9 feet between rows.
Now that I gave you planting space for the berries, I will admit I do not plant in rows. I plant in circular gardens that have a different ground level for each fruit. The strawberries have their own small-tiered garden area. The blue berries are planted in a mound that is oval in shape and the larger berries that grow tall are grouped by their varieties and placed in the garden area where they will not cast shade on the other berries. These berries are grown or a trellis. The berry garden has a theme look with a bench, a few wandering plants and garden art scattered here and there.
I believe that a trellis makes harvesting easier for taller berry plants, plus I like the look.
I grow about 25 strawberry plants, six blueberry plants and about 30 berry bushes. I produce more than enough for my family.
Berries are a wonderful addition to any garden area. If your garden space is limited many of these plants will grow in containers, hanging baskets or on trellises.