Fresh Berries...

Berries 4 web

Grow your own!

Who wouldn't enjoy plucking fresh berries* from your own garden? Whether you have acreage or just a small scale city garden, you can have fresh fruit this summer, if you start planning and planting now. 

Blueberries (Vaccinium corynbosum): Blueberries are actually one of the most nutritious foods we have. Blueberries are high in antioxidants, Vitamin C, minerals and can lower cholesterol. Feel free to grow plenty. Even if you have a huge crop, you won't have to waste the health benefits of these fresh berries, simply freeze them and you can enjoy year-round. 

Light: Full sun

Soil: Acidic, well-drained but moist soil. The best soil pH is 4.5 - 5.5. (Try a soil tester for best results.)

Size: Blueberry bushes range from more compact to the larger Highbush varieties.

How to Plant: No need to hide your blueberry shrubs in the backyard, these plants can be beautiful as well as practical. Use multiple shrubs as a hedge or pot up a single in a container. (Sometimes it is easier to monitor the correct soil conditions in a container.)
1. Dig a hole twice the width of the root ball but not as deep as the root ball is tall.
2. Place plant evenly in the hole. Allow the top of root ball to sit slightly higher than the soil line.
3. Backfill with soil you just dug out.
4. Water deeply until water pools.
5. Apply 1-2 inches of mulch to reduce watering and also to keep weeds down.
6. Water daily for first week and 2-3 times a week for first 2 months.

Blueberry Varieties:
1. Northern Highbush 'Jersey' (pictured): Mature size: 5 -6 ' tall. Leafing, flowering and fruiting in June. Rich blue medium-size fruit is good for baking or eating.
2. Northern Highbush 'Duke': The most widely planted Northern variety. Stocky, upright plants produce firm, light berries with good flavor. Blooms late so blossoms don't get touched late spring frost. Beautiful fall foliage in yellow & orange.
3. Northern Highbush 'Bluecrop': Mature size: 4-6' tall. Upright bushes. Best used in groupings and shrub borders. No need for pollinators to produce fruit. Delicious in pies, tarts, jams or eaten fresh.
4. Blueberry 'Pink Icing': Mature size: 3-4' tall, mounded habit. Upright, compact variety of Northern Highbush. Mid-season large berries. Good for containers. Breathtaking foliage colors in man shades of pink, mixed with blue and deep greens. In winter, leaves turn a stunning turquoise blue. Perfect smaller shrub for containers or in the landscape year-round.

Red Raspberries (Rubus idaeus): The red raspberry is one of the most popular fruit flavors. It's also packed with plenty of nutritional benefits. You'll be able to enjoy berries the very first year of planting too. You can eat them fresh off the plant or turn them into jams or preserves or freeze them for smoothies.

Light: Full sun

Water: Keep well watered throughout the summer, especially when temperatures are high.

Soil: Adapts well to any well-draining soil.

Size: Grows quickly and prolifically. Must trim canes in the spring to encourage fruiting. Read more on pruning...

Tips: Don't plant red, gold or purple raspberries within 75 -100' of black raspberries. Black raspberries are more susceptible to viral diseases carried by aphids. Don't wash berries until you're ready to use them. Only 2-3 days in refrigerator.

Raspberry Varieties:
1. Bushel & Berry Raspberry 'Shortcake':
(Rubus idaeus 'Shortcake): Mature size is 2-3' tall. This thornless raspberry shrub is compact with a rounded habit... perfect for children or young gardeners. It's smaller size is good in containers. Requires no staking or big garden spaces. Water more often in containers in extreme summer heat. Sweet vanilla flavoring.
2. Red Raspberry 'Heritage' (Rubus hybrid 'Heritage') (pictured): 5-6' tall and 3-4' wide. April starts with pink flowers and the everbearing dark red berries come after in 2 harvests: July has a moderate yield and September has a heavier crop. Bears fruit the the first year. Keep watered in hot weather. Allow fruit to fully ripen before harvesting. 

Blackberries (Rubus fruticosus): Blackberries thrive with warm days and cool nights. They produce large, sweet berries and are more winter hardy than other berry plants. Some varieties have thorns and others are without. Only one plant is necessary to set fruit but a home garden with two or three shrubs will produce plenty of berries for most families.

Light: Full sun

Soil: While blackberries can grow in almost any soil, the optimal conditions are loam or sandy loam soils that are high in organic matter with a pH of 5.5-6.5.

Size: Shrubs vary from erect and semi-erect to trailing in habit. The erect type of berry has thorny canes that grow upright and need no support and are more winter hardy in our zone. Semi-erect plants produce more berries than erect cultivars, varying in flavor from tart to sweet. Trailing blackberry varieties require some support and are the least winter hardy.

How to Plant: Choose a site with full sun. If you site them in too much shade, they won't produce much fruit.
1. Dig a hole large enough to accommodate the root system.
2. Backfill with soil you just dug out.
3. Water deeply until water pools.
4. Apply 1-2 inches of mulch to reduce summer watering and keep the area around plant free of weeds.
5. Water regularly by providing one inch of water per week. 
6. Fertilize new plants once growth appears with a 10-10-10 fertilizer in the first year. Established plants should be fertilized before new spring growth appears.

Tip: Do not plant blackberries anywhere near peppers, tomatoes, eggplants or potatoes.

Blackberry Varieties:
1. Blackberry 'Navaho' 
(Rubus Fruticosus 'Navaho')(pictured): Matures to 4-5' tall. This thornless blackberry produces a heavy crop of berries in full sun to part shade. Spring is the best time to plant.
2. Blackberry 'Baby Cakes' (Rubus Fruticosus 'Babycakes'): Matures to a 3-4' rounded shrub. It is a thornless variety with a compact habit. The berries are large and sweet...producing in summer and fall in full sun. Self-pollinating. Non-GMO.

Strawberries (Fragaria): Strawberries should find a place in everyone's garden! Who can resist picking those delicious red fruits and making a smoothie? Strawberries are easy to grow and can be grown in a container or in the ground. If you use organic methods, each plant will usually produce an average of a full quart of berries of pesticide-free straw berries. 
There are 3 main types of strawberry plants... June-bearing, Everbearing and Day-neutral. June-bearers have the largest fruit but only produce one big crop over a week or two. Everbearers produce a larger early crop, smaller late crop and a few berries in between. Day-neutrals produce throughout the growing season.

Light: Full Sun

Soil: Needs well draining soil. Prefers sandy soil that contains very high amounts of organic material. Add extra compost or peat moss for best results. If using a container, potting mixes are fine but add an extra inch or two of fresh compost to the surface. Ideal soil pH is 5.8 - 6.2. Soil kits are available at Pasquesi.

Blooms: White or pink flowers before fruiting.

Size: Strawberry plants are groundcover-like, low growing plants or trailing in containers.

How to Plant: Choose a site with full sun. Avoid competition from grass or tree roots.
1. Dig a hole large enough to spread out the roots of each plant. In the bottom of the hole, create a mound or hill of soil that is flush with the surrounding soil level. Put the plant on top of the hill so the crown is a soil level, Spread the roots out down the sides of the hill.
2. Fill the hole. Planting too shallow may cause the roots to dry out before they can take hold.
3. After planting, mulch the strawberry bed with shredded leaf mulch, compost or straw. Mulching keeps the soil temperature down, eliminates weeds and keeps the strawberry cleaner by keeping them off the dirt.
4. Water deeply when first planting.
5. Water regularly by providing at least an inch of water per week or up to 2 inches a week when the strawberries are forming. Keep watering in August and in September. This late watering will help with fruit bud formation for next year. However, don't allow the plants to stand in water.
6. Fertilize with a balanced (10-10-10) fertilizer just before planting.

Tip: Fertilizing helps strawberry plants to reach their maximum potential. It helps to feed plants at many different times in the life of a strawberry bed. Since strawberries are perennials, they will grow back each springtime, if the plants are healthy. While the leaves of strawberry plants can die over the winter, the roots can survive colder temperatures. Strawberry plants will regrow up from their roots every year, provided that the roots are healthy and survive the winter.

Strawberry Varieties: 
1. Everbearing Strawberry 'Eversweet':
Bright red, cone-shaped berries. Sweet flavor is reminiscent of heirloom varieties. For small space gardens, in hanging baskets, window boxes, barrels or pots on the patios. Produces in its first year. Ripens each summer and continues to fruit into fall. Zones 5-9.
2. Everbearing Strawberry 'Ozark Beauty' (pictured)This everbearing variety produces high yields of large, very sweet fruit from late spring until frost, with concentrated fruiting in summer and again in fall.  Plants are cold-hardy and send out long runners. Ideal for jam, preserves, or desserts. Great plants for containers.

What’s the buzz? The sound of summer. Filling your garden with flowering plants that bees like is the perfect way to a part of the cycle of nature. Bees are hardworking insects—pollinating our crops and flowers for us and feeding themselves and their community at the same time. And, don’t forget the honey—one of nature’s simplest pleasures.

* FYI... Although 'berry' is part of all of their names, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries are not true berries but are called aggregate fruits—fruits that consist of a number of smaller fruits. Blueberries, however, are true botanical berries.