Homegrown Berries: Successfully Grow Your Own Strawberries, Raspberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, and More

Homegrown Berries: Successfully Grow Your Own Strawberries, Raspberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, and More

by Timber Press

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Overview

“Enjoy real, direct-from-the-plant berry flavor whenever you desire! Here is everything you need to know to grow these dazzling edible jewels in your own garden.” —Ivette Soler, author of The Edible Front Yard

Why buy expensive berries from the supermarket when you can grow a bumper crop right outside your door? Homegrown Berries covers the entire process, from planting to picking that first nutritious, luscious fruit. You’ll learn the best varieties for your region, how to fit them into your landscape, and how to maintain them for peak harvest year after year.
 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781604693171
Publisher: Timber Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 12/30/2014
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 328,209
Product dimensions: 8.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Timber Press is devoted to sharing the wonders of the natural world by publishing books from experts in the fields of gardening, horticulture, and natural history. Founded in 1978, Timber Press is internationally recognized as the leading gardening publisher. Its books and authors have received awards from the American Horticultural Society, the Garden Writers of America, the Garden Media Guild, the National Garden Club of America, and more.

Read an Excerpt

Introduction: You Can Do It!
Whether you are new to gardening berries, or new to gardening altogether, this book will help you welcome tasty, healthful, beautiful berries to the world that lies just beyond your doorstep. Just one homegrown berry, plucked on the way from drive to doorbell, can bestow a dizzying flavor profile, from sweet to tart to simply divine, and the ways to incorporate berries into the landscape can be similarly satisfying and diverse. Perhaps it’ll be as subtle as a delicate edging of strawberries along the path leading up to your front stoop. Or maybe it’ll be a bigger story, like a row of plump blueberry bushes or a property-defining fence, covered in trailing blackberries.

What is a berry exactly? To botanists, a berry is a fruit that is multiseeded and derived from a single ovary. So, before we embark on this berry-growing journey, a confession: some of the fruits in this book (blueberries, currants, gooseberries, elderberries) are true berries; others (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, Juneberries) are not. But for the purposes of this book, the common term “berries” will be employed for all. More important than terms, of course, are the joy, satisfaction, and delicious harvests your plantings will provide for seasons to come.

The basic concept of growing berries is hardly revolutionary—this diverse group of fruits has been a source of sustenance throughout history—but the ornamental value of berries in the landscape is increasingly recognized and celebrated. It’s entirely doable to have a good-looking display that also feeds you and your family. Growth habits of berry plants range from groundcovers (strawberries) to vines that require support (trailing blackberries) to upright, freestanding shrubs (highbush blueberries). Any of these can become a significant part of your home landscape, as productive as a good vegetable garden or small home orchard and, with savvy siting and good care, no less attractive. If your yard space is at a premium, a collection of containers is a viable planting option for most of the berries in this book. And the ever-growing abundance of available cultivars means gardeners don’t have to choose between the delicious, beautiful, and disease-resistant attributes of a plant. We can have it all—an edible, natural-looking landscape that requires minimal maintenance once established.

So, how to decide which berries are a good fit for you? Berry by berry, the chapters in this book will walk you through the best selections for home cultivation. You may choose to grow exotic-sounding elderberries or black currants simply because they are impossible to find at your local grocery store. Or perhaps you’ll be drawn to the basics that fill your berry fantasies all winter long: ruby-red strawberries, juicy blackberries, succulent blueberries. But keep in mind that even if they look visually familiar, your homegrown berries will almost certainly taste far superior to their mass-produced relatives. Because many berries are picked very firm, before they are ripe, to survive shipping and extend their short shelf life, those found on grocery shelves are often a bland, expensive disappointment. Fresh berries grown in your backyard, by contrast, will inspire comment—“Oh my, this raspberry tastes like a raspberry.” No fancy descriptors needed.

This remarkable assortment of shapes, sizes, and flavors is also astoundingly good for you. Berries are high in nutrition and fiber, low in fat, and often contain impressive levels of numerous healthful compounds. To complement these natural health benefits, the methods described in this book will give you all the tools you’ll need to grow your own berries without resorting to pesticides and other garden chemicals, which home gardeners increasingly—and naturally—want to avoid.

Like growing vegetables, the process of gardening berries is contagiously exciting and is something for the whole family to enjoy. Kids will delight in locating the season’s first strawberry, hidden underneath a thick canopy of foliage, or filling a container with as many smoothly cool blueberries as they can reach.
 
So plant your berries for any number of reasons: an edible approach to beautifying and defining your outdoor space, a legitimate excuse for wandering the garden on a clear June morning, or a way to inspire random acts of strawberry shortcake and blueberry cobbler. The myriad ways to enjoy your berry harvest run the gamut from fresh to processed, savory to sweet. You aren’t likely to need much help in the methods-of-consumption department; you will, however, need the practical information in this book to get from here to there. So what are we waiting for? Let’s get those berry plants out of your dreams and into the ground.
 

Table of Contents

Introduction: You Can Do It! 6

Berry Basics 11

Berries in Your Yard 35

Strawberries 51

Raspberries and Blackberries 85

Blueberries 125

Specialty Berries 155

Recommended Cultivars by Region 190

Further Reading and Resources 196

Acknowledgments 198

Photography Credits 199

Index 201

Customer Reviews