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Most nutritious productive berry?  RSS feed

 
pollinator
Posts: 10058
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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I would like to add one or two berry bushes to my garden and I want them to be worth the trouble of growing them. What would you suggest as the most nutrient-dense and productive berry bush that doesn't get too huge or which can be kept smaller by pruning? This will be in an irrigated area so it needn't be especially drought-tolerant, but should be tolerant of somewhat alkaline, clay soil, and high temperatures.

Thanks!
 
Posts: 395
Location: Bothell, WA - USA
15
duck food preservation solar trees
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I like aronia berry - pretty, easy to grow, and super nutrition berries that are very easy to harvest by hand, as they all ripen at the same time and you can grab by the clump...
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 10058
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Ooo, that looks like a good one. It prefers slightly acid soil, so I'll have to amend with leaf mulch, but that's ok.


 
Posts: 166
Location: Kentucky 6b
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Eric Thompson wrote:I like aronia berry - pretty, easy to grow, and super nutrition berries that are very easy to harvest by hand, as they all ripen at the same time and you can grab by the clump...



Aren't aronia berries a bit astringent?

Goji berries are a good pick. They're supposed a "superfood" (the term makes me giggle).

I have two myself, though they're not fully grown yet. They supposed get about 7', but they need to be staked. The plants are expensive, around $25 each, but so are the berries If you buy them.

Most important, what kind of berries do you like? Nutritional value doesn't count for much if you can't stand to eat them.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 10058
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Most kinds I haven't eaten, for instance aronia and goji. I like blueberries and blackberries. I've tried growing blackberries here and they died. But most things I've tried to grow have died. Kind of a brown thumb....

So I should add "easy to grow" on my list of preferred berry attributes.

1. Easy to grow
2. Productive
3. Tasty
4. Nutritious
5. Dries well
 
Eric Thompson
Posts: 395
Location: Bothell, WA - USA
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Most people aren't crazy about fresh aronia -- but most people also pick them far too early. They aren't ripe until about 6 weeks after they turn dark..
I eat aronia fresh and use a lot for jam -- exceptional jam comes from astringent and sour items like currant, elder, and quince...
 
Posts: 207
Location: NE Slovenia, zone 6a
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Raspberries are good food, usable in many forms. I would say that they surely get a check on all the 5 points.

If you go for the twice-bearing varieties, the harvest can last for months (end May - end September at least, with a 2-week pause in July, in my Z6/7 location). Don't let them get dried out - but you've mentioned irrigation so I guess that should be fine. As to acid/alkaline soil, they do prefer acid. I suggest using sawdust, in my experience they like that a lot. If the sawdust you're adding is fresh then take care to also add nitrogen in some form.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 10058
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Do you sweeten the aronia berries for jam? I don't really eat sugar so anything that needs to be sweetened is not preferred.
 
Eric Thompson
Posts: 395
Location: Bothell, WA - USA
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I think all jam is sweetened -- mine is usually done with highly concentrated apple juice instead of adding refined sugar and pectin...
 
Posts: 267
Location: Nauvoo, AL
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Sea buckthorn
Goumi
autumn olive
Prinsepia
 
master steward
Posts: 4895
Location: Pacific Northwest
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You said you had a brown thumb, so maybe look for berries that grow naturally in your climate? I really don't know Texas' climates at all, but I'm reminded of The Florida Survivalist Gardener saying that berries were really hard to grow in their hot weather, but mulberries did great.

Maybe mulberries would do well in your area? Black mulberries (Morus nigra) are native to the more hot and arid regions, like Persia and Afghanistan (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morus_nigra). They are delicious berries/fruits that have lots of antioxidants, as well as a nice array of vitamins (http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/mulberries.html). And, there have been studies showing that it helps with insomnia (annoyingly enough, I can't find the studies now).

The mulberry tree is useful in other ways, too, as it's leaves make good fodder. Some varieties of mulberry grow very rapidly and thus could be pruned for firewood, as long as you season it well (http://firewoodresource.com/firewood-btu-ratings/mulberry-firewood/).

Also, mulberries make a good shade tree, which might be useful in your area, for around your house or to shade the less-sun tolerant plants. Just be aware that some varieties' berries stain...
 
pollinator
Posts: 1360
Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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It depends on the heat and the winter chill you get. If you have enough winter chill I would go for black currants or red currants or gooseberries or josta.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 10058
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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We don't get much winter chill. Something like 600 hours, I think.
 
pollinator
Posts: 759
Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
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You might try figs. Not sure if they are technically a berry. I would think they'd be great in your warm climate. They're pretty difficult here in MO. They can be kept small and are very easy to propage. Some varieties are self pollinating. Don't know if they like alkaline soils. That's not a problem here.

 
pollinator
Posts: 4339
Location: Anjou ,France
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Blackcurrent or gooseberry easy to grow and full of vitamine C
 
Posts: 71
Location: Italy
forest garden trees
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Raspberry and Blackberry are easy to grow...you can prune as you like and are productive.

If you have acid soil you can plant Blueberry....they are very productive if have the right soil (acid) and can be kept small..
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 10058
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Thank you! I think I'm going to go with Blackberry, as they grow wild in this region, though no productive plants are nearby. I think I will try growing them against a fence to keep them from taking over the garden. Can anyone recommend an especially fruitful variety?



 
Posts: 310
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
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I'll second the fig recommendation. It should do well in your warm climate and produce a lot more fruit per plant than blackberries; and easier to pick too. It can be pruned to just about any size or shape desired with little effort - you can treat it like a cane fruit bush and just whack out older growth. It's easy to propagate. Fruit is versatile and sweet - no sugar required.
 
garden master
Posts: 4785
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Tyler, most berries like the acid side of the pH scale as do most fruit trees. Pine and cedar leaves are the easy way to turn soil slightly acidic.

In Texas you will find that The thornless black berries are good, large sized and grow well.
Also there are service berries, better growing in our climates than blueberries and respond to pruning well.
Figs are a natural as well.

 
pollinator
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I think blackberries are the only answer for Central Texas. FYI, anytime I search the interwebs, I add tamu in the search. Blackberry tamu, peach tamu, etc. This will get you to Texas A@M information, which will get you specific info for your region.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Thank you!
 
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