I have tried over the past two seasons to start some goji berries from seeds. They are supposed to be extremely easy to grow, but I think I've tested their resilience.
This year I have 4 plants that might actually make it through the winter.
They are a plant I don't hear a lot about in the permaculture context. They are a hardy perennial that produces edibles, and requires little maintenance, which makes them sound valuable to me. Does anyone grow them?
I grow goji berries, but my plant came from rooted cuttings rather than seed. In that form it really is a tough plant, which is fruiting now despite being transplanted in mid summer. But what i have read from other members is it can be difficult to bridge the gap between sensitive seedlings and resilient plant. here is one thread about starting goji seed
Although the fresh berries taste somewhat funky at times, the flavor is growing on me. I am also kind of waiting to see what kind of harvest i will get from a single bush before i go about rooting 20 cuttings around my land. Ill probably put some in with the chickens and see what they think etc.
Seems like a great permaculture plant, the farmer i got the cutting from remarked that his full grown bushes couldn't be killed so he had pretty good faith of my cutting growing, and he was right.
Location: London, Ontario, Canada - zone 6a
posted 3 years ago
Thanks for the link to the other thread. I just gave it a read through and it sounds like perhaps babying the plant in my zone is working against me. I might try to plant some seeds directly and see how that goes.
I still haven't quite gotten the hang of the search function, so sorry to replicate a thread.
I had pretty good luck, but not perfect from seed. Once they were growing they seemed to thrive by taking cutting from them to root. I've given many to a friend with an acreage. He hasn't had the best luck though. Rabbits have eaten my three off a couple times but they are now fenced and have leafed out again really strong. Still small this year but hoping to get a few berries next year.
I am hesitant to plant too many in my yard because I have horror stories from others about how they can get out of control.
I am excited though because we drink a goji juice blend nearly daily, and have boughten dried berries before too.
I am wondering if you are pushing the zone/climate limits for goji where you live in Canada. I used to live in New Mexico which has a very similar climate to that of the goji homeland a semi-arid mountain plateau in China. I could start goji berries in a pot, the ground, inside, outside... no problem. When starting the seeds it was moist and then during the summer lots of sunshine and daylight hours and dry.
I just read zones 2-7 but from my experience I don't believe it. If I kept my seedlings inside too long and they didn't get at least a hour or two of full sun they didn't like it.
I've tried them for 3 years running. Seeds always sprout for me, soak the berries in water and mush them up, separate the seeds and wash several times until the pulp from the fruit is gone, plant away in a similar fashion as a tomato.
I found they are a very fragile little seedling for the first several months, prone to damping off and flopping over.
As they grow they thicken a bit, but don't seem to really shoot up for a few months.
Transplanting outside has lead to eventual death so far. I even bought a small seedling and it simply didn't thrive in my garden.
Hope is not lost though, I think they just need alot of attention, more than I'm willing to give them right now in my situation.
Once they had a several pairs of leaves,I trimmed them back. They leafed out thicker and stronger. Keep them pretty dry, with a fan on them to sturdy them up. I had an old heating pad under them on low to help with germination, too.
When I took them outside,I put them under shade for about a week. Moving them so they got more sun gradually every couple days.
Brett - as per the zone requirements, perhaps that's hindering the establishment, but I've read that they can take as low as -40C. There is a man in Quebec at Green Barn Farms (Ken) who pushes the limits of a whole lot of different plants growing in regards to what the experts say. He talks about an example of trees that he planted one foot apart as opposed to the 25 feet apart that the experts recommended. He claims that the trees talked to each other, sorted out the root competition issue, and got on with the serious business of growing!
Russell - part of the reason I am trying o grow them is that I've heard the claim that they are very hands off and easy to grow... but like experience has taught many of the posters, they sound like they take some time to get up to that level, if at all, depending on local conditions.