Berries are nature’s summer, super fruits bursting with a host of culinary and medicinal properties. Don’t hesitate to get some of these plants into your garden.
Goji Berries – Variety: Chinese Wolfberry
Botanical Name: Lycium barbarum
Goji berries are full of many beneficial properties. People who consume Goji berries on a regular basis notice other benefits such as better eyesight, great hair colour, improved libido, improvement in mood, more quality sleep, a definite enhancement in their energy levels, and over all a brighter outlook on life. Dried Goji berries are a great way to improve your health while enjoying a tasty treat!
Plant in semi-shade to full sun. This perennial berry is a spiny woody shrub that can grow to a height of 3m. It prefers to grow in a sandy soil. It will flower in summer followed by red berries. It is suggested to cut back all growth in spring as well as pruning 2 to 3 times a year. Ideal to use as a hedge or as a stabliser for sandy banks since it has a very good root system.
Blueberries – Variety: Berkeley Highbush
Botanical Name: Vaccinium corymbosum
The Highbush Blueberry requires full sun for optimum yield and quality, and grows best where the soil is very acidic and well supplied with moisture. The level of acidity must be maintained throughout.
Blueberry bushes have very shallow root systems and are very sensitive to water fluctuations and it is important to put generous amounts of mulch – like sawdust, straw or peatmoss around the plant to prevent water loss, to keep the roots cool and to kerb weed growth. Blueberries should start producing fruit after the season of planting.
Raspberries – Variety: Heritage
Botanical Name: Rubus idaeus
This red variety has a sweet flavour and fruit that is firm. The medium sized fruits are full of flavour, firm and ideal for freezing. Plant in full sun in a well-drained soil. Raspberries require a trellis or staking as they tend to ramble. Water well throughout the growth period, cut the plant back in winter.
Blackberries – Variety: Lochness
Botanical Name: Rubus fruticosus
Fruits are eaten raw, cooked, made into jam, syrup, cordials, jellies, wine and to flavour vinegar. This variety is semi-evergreen with a sprawling growth habit that will grow up to 4m. Like the Raspberry plant it also requires supporting to prevent it from getting out of hand. Plant in full sun. Blackberries grow very well in cold winters.
Gooseberries – Variety: Cape Gooseberry
Botanical Name: Physalis peruviana
This easy-to-grow perennial usually grows up to 1m high and is also known as the Chinese Lantern plant. The golden berries, surrounded by an enlarged calyx, are popularly used in pies and jams.
Plant in full sun. Spacing of 60cm between plants. Requires regular watering until established. Water thereafter when needed. Well-draining, compost-enriched loamy soil with added 500g of superphosphate per m². Generous layers of mulching. Harvesting is done when the surrounding calyx is light brown and almost dry, the fruit inside should be yellow.