Today I will compile a list of the best berries to grow in your home garden and tips for getting a bountiful harvest. Berries need to be planted in full sun with as many hours of exposure as possible in an area with good air circulation and well-draining soil.
Berries need very little care other than composting, pruning, and lightly fertilizing yearly. You will enjoy harvesting these berries for years to come.
For specific varieties to plant see blueberry
The keys to growing Blueberries successfully are full sun, good amounts of water during the growing season and fruiting season and most importantly having a very acidic PH 4-5, pine needle mulch, or other organic matter to support plant growth and keep roots cool is best for blueberry plants. Do not at nitrogen-rich materials to the soil for blueberries.
Blueberries will start to develop bloom and leaves at the same time usually March-April, and fruit will start setting on in May. Early varieties will start in late May or early June and run through July. Late varieties will come on in July and August.
It is a good idea to plant several varieties of blueberries to enhance their production of fruit.
Strawberries die back in the winter and start growing again each spring. There are two types of strawberries, June bearing, and Everbearing. The June-bearing varieties will produce crops for about 3 weeks in late spring to early summer. The Everbearing produces a heavy crop in early summer and then has 2 smaller crops in late summer and early fall. Plant in well-draining soil in full sun, and for best production remove runners.
June-bearing strawberries are usually larger and sweeter than everbearing strawberries.
It is good to plant several varieties to provide fruit for the longest period of time, strawberries have one of the shortest and earliest seasons of for berries.
Here are a few varieties to grow in your garden.
These are June-bearing strawberries:
Hood is a medium-size strawberry that is very sweet and was named after Mt. Hood in Oregon. These berries are ripe the first 2-3 weeks of the berry season and are good to eat fresh or make jam within the first few hours of picking them. They are productive and sometimes difficult to grow.
Benton is a medium to a large berry that is full of flavor and has fruit in early June. It is a great berry to grow in pots and smaller areas since it has an upright growth pattern.
Rainier is a June-bearing strawberry that is softer but full of flavor and is resistant to many diseases that attack strawberries.
Other June-bearing varieties you may find
Jewel, Allstar, Seneca, Kent
These are everbearing strawberries:
Seascape is a variety that has berries from May through September, it produces a firm berry that is deep red and sweet. It is usually a berry you will find commercially grown.
Sweet Ann is a heavy-producing strawberry with large berries that are firm and flavorful.
Other everbearing varieties you may find
Ozark, Ogallala, Quinault
Trellis for Raspberries & Blackberries
In the photo above we built a trellis for our raspberries that are planted in the center of the trellis and strawberries along the outside of the bed. Behind the raspberries, you can see blueberries that are approximately 10-15 years old.
The trellis will give good support to the raspberries keeping the vines and fruit off the ground. The trellis used 2 4x4x8 foot posts that were set in cement with two cross bars that were made from some scraps of 2x4s, I will add 8 eye bolts and wire to finish the project.
There are many varieties of raspberries, they will sprout up like the photo above shows in March and new growth setting on stems of older plants. Raspberries like other berries need full sun and well-draining soil and mulch to retain moisture and prevent weeds from growing. One thing to consider when planting raspberries is they will send runners underground and spread out so you will need to be careful where you plant them.
It is good to plant several varieties to extend your harvest season throughout the summer. Fruit is produced on the second season’s growth on all varieties. Since fruit is more tender it is best to harvest in the morning when it is cooler.
Blackberries are very easy to grow and now there are many varieties of thornless blackberries, making it much easier to harvest when the fruit is ripe. They enjoy full sun but also like partial shade from the late afternoon heat. They like well-draining soil with a PH of 5-6 . They like mulch but it is best to keep it away from the base of the plant to prevent rotting.
Blackberries are ripe in late July to August when most berries are done so it is nice to have blackberries to enjoy.
Boysenberries like well-draining soil with exposure to full sun and a PH of 6-7. The berries are an elongated blackberry that is a hybrid of blackberries and raspberries. When ripe they are dark purple with a sweet/tart flavor. The plants will need a wire support system since the vines are long and hold a lot of berries. These berries ripen from late July to August.
If you grow enough berries to freeze or make jam the best way to freeze them is to lay a single layer on parchment paper, once frozen you can place them in a freezer bag where they will not stick together for future use. All of these berries are great to eat fresh, make jam, pies, cobblers, smoothies, or freeze for a great treat in the winter.