Perennial berries offer tasty backyard treats year after year. Berries are versatile, in that they’re great fresh, in baked goods, dried, frozen, and as jam or preserves. If you have growing space either at home or in a community garden plot, consider adding some berries to your gardening plans.
Blueberries are among the easiest fruits to grow organically. Late winter or early spring, during the six weeks prior to your last spring frost, is the best time for planting blueberries. Young container-grown plants may be set out later but need time to grow roots before hot weather.
Except for saskatoons, blueberries require acidic soil with a pH below 5.0. Blueberries can also be grown in containers filled with an acidic, bark-based planting mix.
(Get a complete growing guide at All About Growing Blueberries.)
Strawberries are usually the first berries to ripen in a given growing season, and a bed of 25 strawberry plants can produce 30 pounds of strawberries per year. Plant strawberry starts six weeks before your first frost, or you can set out plants in fall if you have mild winters. Before you plant, dig plenty of organic matter such as compost into the soil. A type called ever-bearing strawberries will work particularly well for growing in large containers if you don’t have garden space.
(For much more on growing strawberries and different types to try, see Growing Strawberries.)
Next: raspberries, blackberries, and cooking tips!