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    berries

    How to Grow Three Kinds of Berries

    Benjamin Kilbride, Editorial Assistant at The Old Farmer’s Almanac

    Learn the basic techniques to growing sweet and colorful berries in your garden.

    Why Grow Berries?

    The simple fact is that berries picked fresh taste sweeter than store bought ones. Grow your own and bring the market to your garden!  

    Types of Berry Plants

    Strawberries — There are three main groups of strawberries: day-neutral, ever-bearing, and June-bearing. Day-neutral strawberries are insensitive to any change in day length and produce buds and fruit throughout the growing season. Ever-bearing grow two crops—one in the spring and another in the fall. June-bearing are the most popular, growing larger fruit than the other two groups. They produce a single crop for 2 to 3 weeks in later spring. 

    Blueberries — There are five varieties of blueberry bushes: lowbush, northern highbush, southern highbush, rabbiteye, and half-high. Lowbush are short, growing to only about 1-1/2 feet; Northern highbush are tall, growing to between 5 and 9 feet; Southern highbush are similar to their northern cousins, except that they require a shorter period of dormancy in the winter; rabbiteye are perfect for areas with long, hot summers, growing 6 to 10 feet tall; half-high are a combination of highbush and lowbush varieties, growing between 3 and 4 feet tall.

    Raspberries — There are two varieties of raspberries: summer-bearing and ever-bearing. Summer-bearing produce a single crop during the summer, while ever-bearing produce two—one in the summer and one in the fall. Raspberries can also be divided into red, gold, purple, and black varieties. Red and gold are best grown in cold climates; black and purple are tolerant of warm climates.

    Basic Tips for Growing Each Berry

     

    Strawberry plants

    Light: Plant in an area that receives bright, full sun.

    Soil type and pH: Provide well-draining soil that has a pH between 5.8 and 6.2.

    Water: Give each plant 1 to 2 inches of water per week, especially while berries are forming.

     

    Blueberry bushes

    Light: Plant in an area that receives bright, full sun.

    Soil type and pH: Provide well-draining soil that has a slightly acidic pH of 5.5 to 6.0.

    Water: Water blueberry bushes thoroughly, soaking to 6 inches deep—pay particular attention during drought.

     

    Raspberry canes

    Light: Plant in an area that receives full to partial sun.

    Soil type and pH: Provide well-draining, nitrogen-rich soil that has a pH between 5.5 and 6.5.

    Water: During berry production, water the canes regularly and deeply. Spread straw or mulch around the base of the canes during summer to keep in moisture.