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Elderberries!  RSS feed

 
Posts: 16
Location: Western Oregon
homeschooling kids cooking
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I just purchased 2 elderberry "bushes" (they don't quite qualify for that title yet) from the sambucus nigra family. I purchased "Instant Karma" and "black lace" (2 so they would fruit). My family and I started making elderberry tea and syrup for wellness during this past/current cold and flu season and it seems to have actually helped. I purchased dried elderberries from Frontier for around $19.00/lb, and when we were close to being out, I went back and saw they were close to $40/lb...I believe they are back to a semi-reasonable price, but regardless, with those kind of price mood swings I wanted to grow my own!

My plants arrived yesterday and look to be in decent condition. They are in small pots (quart, I believe) and are both 6-8" tall and maybe 4" wide. I'm wondering if I should pot them in 3.5 gallon buckets (I have a lot of those) until they get bigger, then maybe plant in the fall? It's starting to heat up here a bit and I'm not sure how they will do in our bit of earth.

We have clay soil - like, super clay soil. Mud in the winter, giant cracks in the summer. However - the soil is very good. I can't pull a weed up without getting an earth worm too. So I don't think the aeration is bad, necessarily. And I know worm castings are the best fertilizer ever (we used to raise them...I have a soft spot for my little blind friends!).

I'm a rambler, sorry. Let me just sum this up:

1) Should I repot my plants until they get larger before planting them in my clay soil.\

2) Will they do okay in morning sun + dappled shade? I wanted to plant them in our front yard (the soil is clay, but less dry out there) under/between a smallish oak and some unidentified coniferous tree, in hopes that in the years to come they'll rise up and create a great privacy screen/natural fence. (We planted a few baby boxwoods out there and they haven't died yet/are actually growing...sloooooooowly growing). If not, I do have another location, but it was supposed to be my juneberry "fence", lol.


P.S.
I know there is much debate about this, even on this forum (since that's where I read most of it), but I decided NOT to amend my clay soil. I do plant some things in raised beds (mostly because we had a ton of free rocks plus free cedar plants from my husbands work), but bushes, trees and such go straight into the ground. So far my raspberries, blueberries, and all our new bareroot trees we planted in the fall, seem perfectly happy and healthy. I figure things need to learn to adapt, or we just can't grow it (we don't have the money, really, to get all the stuff we "need" anyway). However, we do mulch (clay soil!!!) break apart the ground really well so the roots can stretch far, and are planning on raising worms again specifically for their castings (in addition to our compost pile). And occasionally we will create a small berm area for plants to get their "bearings" before rooting into our soil (hello, kiwis!) HOWEVER...I do really want these elderberries to GROW because they are SO beneficial (and they cost a pretty penny!), so if raised beds or a better location would be wisest, let me know! I can't wait to get those juicy berries!

Thanks permie people! You guys rock! (Really. I very much appreciate all the kindness and wisdom here!)
 
Posts: 93
Location: France, Burgundy, parc naturel Morvan
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Where i am, people regard them as a weed. Mine is starting to flower just this week, next week we're gonna pick them to make wine.
I don't know about clay , i'm on granite, acid and poor, but it loves it since i started my compost heap not far from it, so it must like nutrients.
Sun and not dry this article states.
https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/fruits/elderberry/planting-elderberry.htm
Good luck!
 
Posts: 353
Location: SW PA USA zone 6a altitude 1188ft
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I don't know what you paid, but I've noticed that elderberry plants from Musser Forest are very inexpensive. They are  sambucus canadensis. You have to watch at that site, sometimes you can buy a much larger quantity cheaper than just a few. Anyway the 10 rate there is $1.57 each, they're sold out this season but a lat of nurseries are sold out this time of year.

I bring this up as I think if you're talking elderberries by the pound, you may need more plants. (?)

 
Dee Rose
Posts: 16
Location: Western Oregon
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John Duda wrote:I don't know what you paid, but I've noticed that elderberry plants from Musser Forest are very inexpensive. They are  sambucus canadensis. You have to watch at that site, sometimes you can buy a much larger quantity cheaper than just a few. Anyway the 10 rate there is $1.57 each, they're sold out this season but a lat of nurseries are sold out this time of year.

I bring this up as I think if you're talking elderberries by the pound, you may need more plants. (?)



Thanks for the tip! I am not sure if the canadensis variety has the same medicinal properties as the nigra (European) variety, which is why I chose the way I did. There are varying reports, and I'm far from expert. Thank you for the link though, at that price I'd love to try some out, regardless!

I think 2 bushes ought to be ok for our winter needs, although maybe you are right, since I bought them DRIED, I have no idea how many fresh berries would equal 1lb dried berries (though I plan on using them fresh/cooked, not drying them). The shrubs get enormous and do produce many berries. Also, I think I should have been more clear - we don't eat them by the pound, that's just how we bought them. I only use 1tsp - 1tbsp per cup of tea, or about  2/3 c to make a bunch of syrup. Although, next year I'd probably need 2-3lbs because I would love to be more consistent with our intake (family of 4).

ETA: ooooh! I will definitely be buying some of those elderberries for next year! I heard the american variety grow very easily and the berries are okay to eat right off the bush (and hey, if we don't like them, I'm sure the myriad of birds will enjoy them. Just saying that you again. Bookmarking and stalking that site now :-D
 
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