The taste of fresh berries is unparalleled, but buying them can easily break the bank. Why not learn how to grow berries at home – you’ll save a fortune and know that your fruit is free of pesticides, herbicides and other toxic chemicals. Let’s take a look at the bounty of berries that you can plant in the urban garden right now:
Strawberries may be the most beloved of the berries, but there is no reason to pay premium prices. In fact, they’re pretty prolific plants when well-established, so starting them in fall is a great way to give them a strong root system for an amazing spring crop. For best results, plant two varieties – one early and one late producing. Forget trying to keep strawberry plants organized, just plant them in strawberry pots or in low mounds and let them go throughout the fall. When the emerge in the spring they will be lush and full of fruit.
Raspberries and Blackberries
Plant raspberries and blackberries in the fall and they’ll reward you many times over. Berries of all types and varieties will thrive in rich soil that has been well worked and well amended with compost. You will find that all plants in this family will produce suckers from the main plant. In the case of raspberries, after they have produced for the season you should cut all but a few of them down to ground level. The remaining canes should be trimmed to about 24-30”.
Blackberries like a slightly acid soil. When the canes of the blackberry plant have produced their fruit, encourage new growth by cutting those spent canes at ground level. At season’s end, trim away all but 8-10 canes.
Blueberries are a different case than other berry plants. They require an acid soil with a pH of 4.0 – 5.0 and it is essential to plant at least two different blueberry varieties to ensure good production from your plants. When you plant your blueberries, trim any branches that are ‘leggy’ to encourage strong root development early on. In most cases you should not need to cut them back again until the third year or so.