Have you ever wandered upon a patch of wild raspberry bushes and picked fresh fruit to enjoy while you hiked? There is no more refreshing summer treat than fresh berries, and as long as you have the room to grow a large bush, you can easily become a backyard berry grower.
Cool down on a hot day with fresh fruit smoothies made from a blend of red, blue and black berries picked from your own shrubs. Or, meld the flavors of different berries together in a glaze to top turkey, chicken or fish fresh off the grill. Berries are as nutritious as they are colorful and zingy tasting. Antioxidants, which help prevent cancer and other diseases, are plentiful in berries.
Brambleberries include blackberries, raspberries, boysenberries and loganberries. They're called brambleberries because they all grow on shrubs with prickly (bramble-covered) stems, also known as canes. They can all be planted together, and they complement each other in flavor and a variety of color.
A large space with the right soil, full sun and some good pruning shears is all anyone needs to grow berries. It's a great idea to plant an assortment of plants, so you can harvest a colorful medley to top your ice cream sundae, yogurt, oatmeal, or cereal. For the jam and preserves aficionado, you'll have trouble keeping any of the mixed berry jars on your shelves. Oh, the single-berry varieties won't last long, either, but there is something extra-addictive about mixed-berry toppings. A bowl of fresh-picked berries on their own are irresistible, as well.
Brambleberries require well-drained soil with a relatively high pH, but blueberries need a lower pH, or more acid soil, between 4.5 and 4.8. These berries can all occupy a close proximity on your property, as long as you pay close attention to their soil and pruning needs. All berries will appreciate a good dose of organic material mixed into the soil.
Blueberry bushes take up less space and they're relatively low-maintenance plants that even thrive in containers. Just make sure you provide well-drained soil and maintain the pH to the proper acid level for whatever varieties you grow. There are early, mid-season, and late season fruit bearers, which enable you to have fresh blueberries throughout the summer and into fall. It's recommended that you plant at least two different varieties to ensure cross-pollination. Also, blueberries need to have all the blossoms removed the first season to prevent fruiting and to encourage strong root growth. The second season, fruit yields will be abundant. The third season is when you should begin pruning.
Brambles respond well to training and trellising. They do, however, need pruning attention, and at the right stage in their growth and season. Raspberry and blackberry varieties are available in bright red, yellow, black and purple fruits. Combine some summer and fall fruiting plants, to ensure your entire season is berrylicious!