• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • r ranson
  • Nicole Alderman
stewards:
  • Joseph Lofthouse
  • paul wheaton
  • Mike Haasl
master gardeners:
  • jordan barton
  • John F Dean
  • Carla Burke
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Jay Angler
  • Leigh Tate
  • thomas rubino

Blueberries vs honeyberries

 
Posts: 9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I’ve got some extra space in my yard and want to plant more berries. Cold climate.

Everyone around here seems to throw blue berries in their yard and they seem to grow ok, although I don’t know if the soil is acidic or not.

If you could pick one or the other, which one is easier to grow and maintain? I think honeyberries might be easier because you don’t have to worry about the soil acidity, but they are also more complicated with matching up the blooming seasons and getting different varieties.

Any opinion on “early bloomers” vs “late bloomers” for the honeyberry? All else being equal, wouldn’t late bloomers be a safer choice?

Any reasons to plant a blueberry over a honeyberry?
 
steward
Posts: 8919
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
2572
hunting trees books food preservation solar woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I just got two honeyberries planted two autumns ago.  I'm amazed at their growth compared to my blueberries.  But the fruit (so far) has been rather tart.  And my similarly sized (older) blueberries have much more fruit on them.

So I like the vigor of the plants and their early fruiting but I'm not sure I like the taste just yet.  Also, if you have spotted wing drosophila (spelled wrong I'm sure), the honeyberries should be early enough to avoid having maggots in the berries.
 
Posts: 263
64
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi John,

To choose between Honey berries or Blue berries, is a matter of your soil. Do a pH test, and then you'll know the most low maintenance choice based on pH compatibility. As far as pollinator companions and bloom cycle go, a quick online search will have you lined up in those regards, regardless of which species you choose. As far as which bloom cycle to choose, unless your restricted on space, most would say the more the merrier. So why not get them all, and always have some fresh berries around. Its good for beneficial-insects, and your health. Honey berries are very cold hardy, like zone 3, so early bloom cycles shouldn't be an issue with frost damage, unless your pushing their boundaries. As far as I know, the varieties are all hardy to the same zones; however, to error on the side of caution, if you check the cold hardiness of a spacific variety, and it's not congruent with your zone, then its obviously not a good choice.

Hope that helps.

Best wishes, R.
 
John Stoen
Posts: 9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
What’s your preferred method for testing pH?
 
R. Steele
Posts: 263
64
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi John,

Any pH tester will work. The leaf luster set up with the capsules, is cheap, accurate and effective. Just follow the directions exactly, and your good.
 
master steward
Posts: 14667
Location: Pacific Northwest
6632
hugelkultur kids cat duck forest garden foraging fiber arts sheep wood heat homestead
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have both. The honey berries are a bit more tart (some varieties better than others, and if picked at peak of ripeness, they're less bitter). The early honey berries are nice because they ripen before any other fruit, even strawberries. So, if you want fruit sooner, get the early season honeyberries. The later season honeyberries seem to finish up bearing fruit just before the blueberries ripen. Honey berries taste great in smoothies and when mixed with honey/sugar to make fruit leather or jam. They're fine to eat straight off the bush, but they're not as delicious as blueberries. My children won't even pick honeyberries to eat, and avoid them when mixed with other berries, but they LOVE blueberries.

I like having both types of berries. If I could only have one type, I'd probably pick blueberries, unless I really wanted early fruit. I LOVE having honeyberries because they are so early, and they are packed full of antioxidants.
 
John Stoen
Posts: 9
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for the replies. I’d written off the “early” berries but this gives me second thoughts. I’ve never actually eaten a honeyberry either. I love blueberries so can’t go wrong there.

I have a pH tester on the way so will see what the soil is like and slowly build from there.
 
Posts: 16
Location: Vancouver
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

R. Steele wrote:Hi John,

Any pH tester will work. The leaf luster set up with the capsules, is cheap, accurate and effective. Just follow the directions exactly, and your good.




An old post, but for reference:

Regarding PH, you should read Heidi Hermary's book "Shifting Paradigms".  She shows pretty conclusively that PH has little to do with growing blueberries... or rather it's far more complex of a relationship, and PH tests usually just involve using chemicals to determine one half of what can be a slow and not very useful test.

There are plenty of alkaline blueberry bogs in the world.  It's true that you can have acidic conditions that indicate an availability of iron, which goes a long way to having successful blueberries, but the real key is just the organic matter content - I believe it was that Iron is available at any PH, at high organic matter content, but it really varied a lot, and beggars the question of "why test this in the first place", or "why plan ahead rather than just trying out both and letting nature take its course".
The short version of "PH is only kind of relevant" is that the availability of minerals to plants is not a one dimensional graph, but at the least a two dimensional one, so it's a bit like... using a hammer on a screw.  It might work, or it might break the screw, but it will definitely be clumsy.

I have a feeling that if you look deep enough into big agrobusiness, you'll find that they are directly responsible for this very common partial myth.  It allowed them to mine peat bogs to death (specifically the death of the human species).  Peat was supposed to be the "acidifier" that fixed blueberries, whereas really it's more important because it retains moisture and adds organic matter.

I second the person who says honeyberries avoid the spotted wing fruit fly.

A little disturbing that I'm writing this from the house of one deceased "R. Steele".
 
John Stoen
Posts: 9
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Geoff Colpitts wrote:

R. Steele wrote:Hi John,

Any pH tester will work. The leaf luster set up with the capsules, is cheap, accurate and effective. Just follow the directions exactly, and your good.




An old post, but for reference:

Regarding PH, you should read Heidi Hermary's book "Shifting Paradigms".  She shows pretty conclusively that PH has little to do with growing blueberries... or rather it's far more complex of a relationship, and PH tests usually just involve using chemicals to determine one half of what can be a slow and not very useful test.

There are plenty of alkaline blueberry bogs in the world.  It's true that you can have acidic conditions that indicate an availability of iron, which goes a long way to having successful blueberries, but the real key is just the organic matter content - I believe it was that Iron is available at any PH, at high organic matter content, but it really varied a lot, and beggars the question of "why test this in the first place", or "why plan ahead rather than just trying out both and letting nature take its course".
The short version of "PH is only kind of relevant" is that the availability of minerals to plants is not a one dimensional graph, but at the least a two dimensional one, so it's a bit like... using a hammer on a screw.  It might work, or it might break the screw, but it will definitely be clumsy.

I have a feeling that if you look deep enough into big agrobusiness, you'll find that they are directly responsible for this very common partial myth.  It allowed them to mine peat bogs to death (specifically the death of the human species).  Peat was supposed to be the "acidifier" that fixed blueberries, whereas really it's more important because it retains moisture and adds organic matter.

I second the person who says honeyberries avoid the spotted wing fruit fly.

A little disturbing that I'm writing this from the house of one deceased "R. Steele".



Who is R Steele?

Anyway, I never got a solid answer on my soil but I believe it is alkaline. I didn’t really trust the tester though (it was one of those manual ones you stick into the ground). I have a couple blueberries and they don’t do a thing. They lead out and do not bloom or produce fruit.

My honeyberries on the other hand are doing great and are quite vigorous. If I did it all over again I would skip the blueberries.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1609
Location: RRV of da Nort
275
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi John,

I will make a pitch for another berry I haven't seen mentioned here....the Juneberry:  https://smallfarms.cornell.edu/2011/10/juneberries-they-go-where-blueberries-cant/

Comes under different names like Serviceberry, Peminaberry, and a few others.  Not quite as flavorful as blueberries in most people's opinion, but super hardy (we are outside of Fargo, ND and they certainly grow up to Winnipeg, Manitoba) and very prolific on the berries.  We also like our Honeyberries, but they are tart as others have noted.  Blueberries we would not even attempt due to the alkalinity of our soil and the reported finickiness of that species in our area.  Worth a look in my opinion.  And let's not forget Aroniaberries which are very tart, but great nutritional value and make excellent jams:  https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/carringtonrec/northern-hardy-fruit-evaluation-project/fruit-index/aronia
 
Been there. Done that. Went back for more. But this time, I took this tiny ad with me:
Rocket Mass Heater Manual - now free for a while
https://permies.com/goodies/8/rmhman
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic