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Edible Garden

Growing Backyard Berries

April 5, 2019 3 min read

Berries are loaded with antioxidants, high in fibre, fight inflammation, and help control free radicals in the body. It’s even better when they are grown organically in your outdoor space!

To grow backyard berries, all you need is proper soil, the right amount of sunlight, and your favourite varieties to snack on.

Tip: don’t be fooled if you’re short on space; Bushel & Berry offers a line of berries that are GMO-free, self-pollinating, and compact enough to be planted in containers to produce fruit year after year. Available at all of our garden centres.

Soil

Get your homegrown berries off to a good start by mixing Fafard Natural Fertilizer for Acid Loving Plants & Berries and Fafard Acid Loving Plants & Berries Soil Mix into your planting area or container.

Berries are acidic loving edibles; they prefer a pH level of four to five and the mix of this soil and fertilizer will help maintain that level and get an optimal harvest.

Planting

When planning your berry patch, remember they are sun-loving plants. They should be planted in an area with full sun to produce the optimal amount of fruit.

Dig a hole and plant the same depth as it was in the nursery container.

Jelly Bean® Bushel & Berry®
Jelly Bean® Bushel & Berry®

Don’t forget to water thoroughly and check your plants often to make sure they are receiving enough water! Containers dry out faster than those planted in the ground.

Even though berries like to be moist, avoid planting in low-lying areas that collect water and have poor drainage. This will damage the roots and harm the plant.

Harvesting

Now that your hard work and patience has finally paid off, it’s time to enjoy your harvest!

You will be able to tell your fruit is ready for harvest by consistent colour, firmness, and how easily it comes off the plant.

Strawberries should be picked with the stem attached; they will store in the fridge for three to four days.

If the blackberries are glossy, they’re not ready and they will be sour. Hold off until the skin is a deep colour and matte.

Blueberry Glaze berries

Raspberries have a very short shelf life – harvest regularly and freeze or consume immediately once they are fully red.

Avoid picking blueberries when they are not fully ripe; they will have consistent colour and will remove from the plant easily when they are ripe.

Pruning

Pruning your berries annually will help maintain shape and provide more fruit. Removing deadwood will allow the plant to put more energy into fruit production and allow for better air circulation.

New blueberry plants need minimal pruning. We suggest cutting back 1/3 of the older canes in early spring when the plant is still dormant.

Prune blackberries and raspberries in early spring by cutting old canes to the soil level.

Winterizing

Protecting berries for the winter requires a few quick steps. If the plants are in containers, you can leave them in an unheated garage or away from any areas that receive heavy wind to prevent winter damage.

If berries are planted in the ground, mulch around the base of the plant to protect the roots.

Want to learn more about growing fruit? Check out our garden tip.