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Old 06-25-2014, 07:15 PM
Chrysalis Chrysalis is offline
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Default Berry bush advice and opinions please



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A few years ago I planted various berry bushes. Three Nanking bush cherries went in an out-of-the-way location. Two died, one is thriving but only produced 3 cherries so far. We have one old gooseberry bush and a young struggling one. Another additions was a beautiful red currant in a shady, neglected area. It produces a nice crop now.

I have decided to landscape the back of the house with berry bushes. The problem is that the currants don't taste very yummy, the Nanking are not trustworthy, and the gooseberries are the fruit of the Devil himself! One plant produced enough berries for a pie and maybe 50 stabs into my fingers while harvesting them. I will let you know later if I get poison ivy on my face.

Any ideas from you guys would be appreciated. I would like to plant something that is sturdy and produces a flavorful berry. My area is zone 5. I have 70 to 100 feet in length to fill by 3 feet wide. The bed will be filled in with composted cow manure. The topping will most likely be composted goat manure mixed with straw.
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Old 06-25-2014, 07:31 PM
kingsman kingsman is offline
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Strawberries? I planted 120 feet of strawberries and they are producing fine. 6 quarts so far. I did a mix of early , late and all season producers. Behind them I put rhubarb and blueberries. I bought 3 kinds of gooseberries, and two of the bushes are terrible, small berries and vile tasting, but the third has good size berries though not enough yet for a good harvest. give it a few years. Raspberries are also a good idea.
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Old 06-25-2014, 08:03 PM
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Strawberries? I planted 120 feet of strawberries and they are producing fine. 6 quarts so far. I did a mix of early , late and all season producers. Behind them I put rhubarb and blueberries. I bought 3 kinds of gooseberries, and two of the bushes are terrible, small berries and vile tasting, but the third has good size berries though not enough yet for a good harvest. give it a few years. Raspberries are also a good idea.
Do you know what variety the better gooseberry plant is?

I already have a large-ish strawberry bed, a row of rhubarb, yellow raspberries, red, and some blackberries.

I guess I'm looking for something a little more old fashioned or unusual.
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Old 06-25-2014, 08:18 PM
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im ho strawbeeries are the way to go,, much more valuable as something to sell.. and easier to pick no thorns,, and larger than other berries but need a bit more care,, but they will propagate themselves
some produce all at once and some over the full season, you will want to plant both,,

I know some people make some side money just selling their surplus

they are one of my next projects when i get back on my feet regularly

I dug a few red razzberry bushes from the yard of a house we used to rent and planted them at this one when we bought it 4 years ago.. and they have spread into such a jungle awready that a bear is sleeping in there when he is in town , from his travels.. (they roam about 100 sq miles,, the males,, like a 10 by 10 mile area,, so he stops in every couple months to say GRRR.. or Hi... whatever )
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Old 06-25-2014, 09:35 PM
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Everbearing raspberries (autumn britten is my favorite variety) and trailing thornless blackberries (triple crown thornless and chester at the two varieties that I have - both are similarly productive and very vigorous) are easy to grow and have tasty fruit. Both raspberries and blackberries are easy to divide by rooting cuttings.

Blueberries are great if you have the conditions they want or are willing to create those conditions - acidic soil, lots of organic matter, and consistent moisture in the top foot of soil.

Hinnomaki Red is my best gooseberry so far. The berries from Black Velvet are good, but smaller and the plant has been less vigorous for me.
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Old 06-26-2014, 06:58 AM
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Hinnomaki Red is my best gooseberry so far. The berries from Black Velvet are good, but smaller and the plant has been less vigorous for me.
The young, struggling gooseberry I have is a Honnomaki. The little thing is 2 or 3 years old and maybe 3 inches high. I hope it produces some day.
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Old 06-26-2014, 07:04 AM
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Honeyberry
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Old 06-26-2014, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Gypsymoonfarm View Post
The young, struggling gooseberry I have is a Honnomaki. The little thing is 2 or 3 years old and maybe 3 inches high. I hope it produces some day.
If it is still that small after a couple of years, I would consider replacing it with a new plant or transplanting it to another area to see if it can get a fresh start.

I have a Glendale gooseberry that is even larger than the Hinnomaki Red, but it has been hit by late frosts the past couple years so this year will be the first chance to sample a decent amount of fruit. It should be ripe within a couple weeks.

Jostaberries are another option for gooseberry type flavor. They are currant x gooseberry hybrids. I have Orus 8 plants and the berries have a nice flavor, somewhat like a grape with a tart skin. The Orus 8's have quite a few thorns, whereas the original Jostaberries are much less thorny from what I have heard.

Goumi is another berry worth trying. They do have some thorns, but they are not much of a problem in picking. The berries have a small seed/pit. They make excellent preserves.

My family and I like Autumn Olives. Amber, a yellow-fruited variety, is our favorite so far of the several types that I have planted. I'm not sure what part of the country you are in, but they can be invasive in the Eastern portion, so they may not be suitable for your area.
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Old 06-26-2014, 07:27 AM
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fyi... if you are not familiar with Raintree Nursery, their hard-copy catalog makes for some great berry/fruit tree "porn"
http://www.raintreenursery.com/
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Old 06-26-2014, 08:07 AM
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Honeyberry
I've often thought of giving honey berries a go, do you have many? If so, what is the area like in which you have them growing?

The area I will be filling in is shady for most of the day, but gets a hot sun later in the afternoon. The currant loves it, as well as the garlic that has been growing there for a few years.
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Old 06-26-2014, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Gypsymoonfarm View Post
I've often thought of giving honey berries a go, do you have many? If so, what is the area like in which you have them growing?

The area I will be filling in is shady for most of the day, but gets a hot sun later in the afternoon. The currant loves it, as well as the garlic that has been growing there for a few years.
I don't have any. A member from a WI email list I'm on, suggested them because they are growing good for her in the Northern part of the state. She's got hers growing in part shade.

I'm starting to prep an area that I want to plant them in. I'd like to get everything ready to plant them next spring
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Old 06-26-2014, 04:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gypsymoonfarm View Post
A few years ago I planted various berry bushes. Three Nanking bush cherries went in an out-of-the-way location. Two died, one is thriving but only produced 3 cherries so far. We have one old gooseberry bush and a young struggling one. Another additions was a beautiful red currant in a shady, neglected area. It produces a nice crop now.

I have decided to landscape the back of the house with berry bushes. The problem is that the currants don't taste very yummy, the Nanking are not trustworthy, and the gooseberries are the fruit of the Devil himself! One plant produced enough berries for a pie and maybe 50 stabs into my fingers while harvesting them. I will let you know later if I get poison ivy on my face.

Any ideas from you guys would be appreciated. I would like to plant something that is sturdy and produces a flavorful berry. My area is zone 5. I have 70 to 100 feet in length to fill by 3 feet wide. The bed will be filled in with composted cow manure. The topping will most likely be composted goat manure mixed with straw.
Manchurian apricot in a thicket. Goji berry in a thicket. Japanese plums in a thicket. Sea buckthorn in a thicket.
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Old 06-26-2014, 07:53 PM
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service berry trees. Blueberries? blackberries to make a defensive hedge, but are hard to keep contained. Ground cherries are cool, lots of vitamin c but you need to plant every year
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Old 06-27-2014, 12:36 AM
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I just ordered 4 honey berry bushes. They look like an elongated blueberry. I don't know much about them, but I thought I'd give them a whirl. I also ordered a variety of raspberry that doesn't require staking. That's a big bonus, if the claim is true! Have you thought about high bush cranberries? I hear they are a bit tart until after the first frost. I might give them a try next year.
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Old 06-27-2014, 05:43 AM
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Errect thornless blackberries. They survive my brown thumb. A 70 foot row will keep you picking... Select several different varieties so ripening times stagger. You have to pick them dead ripe, too soon and they're too tart... Pull means pucker...
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Old 06-27-2014, 06:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Simonson View Post
I just ordered 4 honey berry bushes. They look like an elongated blueberry. I don't know much about them, but I thought I'd give them a whirl. I also ordered a variety of raspberry that doesn't require staking. That's a big bonus, if the claim is true! Have you thought about high bush cranberries? I hear they are a bit tart until after the first frost. I might give them a try next year.
What I'm thinking right now is an Elderberry bush on each side of the front door, because apparently they grow large. Honey berries are what I am leaning toward along the back of the house, maybe with something totally different planted between each one.
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Old 06-28-2014, 12:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gypsymoonfarm View Post
What I'm thinking right now is an Elderberry bush on each side of the front door, because apparently they grow large.
careful the purple fruit will stain concrete; that, and if accessible, birds will come to eat the fruit leaving lil birdie blobs too
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Old 06-28-2014, 12:51 PM
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Three of my favorites are:
1. Triple Crown thornless blackberries - you'll get a very abundant crop of large, delicious blackberries. These will need a fence or strong wires to grow on, as they send out long vines.
2. Nova Red Raspberries - minimal thorns, firm and delicious.
3. Josta (pronounced "Yosta" berries - a cross between gooseberries and black currants. The best of both varieties, and they're thornless. Josta berries grow on a bush - not vining.

I grow each of there and more. My gooseberries produce really well. I'll be picking some later today when the sun isn't as high.

I've been filling my medium sized yard with fruit trees, a good variety of berries and other edible perennials and deciduous plants.
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Old 06-28-2014, 12:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gypsymoonfarm View Post
What I'm thinking right now is an Elderberry bush on each side of the front door, because apparently they grow large. Honey berries are what I am leaning toward along the back of the house, maybe with something totally different planted between each one.
The first elderberry bush I planted apparently didn't like the spot original chose for it. After 2 or 3 years of poor growth, I moved it to another location and it took off. Within another year or 2 it got huge and finally started producing well. Last year I was able to harvest much more than I expected, and this year it's looking great too. It's probably 12 feet tall and 8-10 feet wide and loaded with berries.
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Old 06-28-2014, 01:42 PM
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Nobody has mentioned chokecherrys yet. They are the zucchinis of the bush world, I wouldn't plant too many, but chokecherry jelly is the BEST.

You'll probably have to put netting over your Nanking cherries if you ever want a crop.
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