One of the best parts of gardening is when you get to literally eat the fruits of your labors. Growing edible fruits and berries at home provides tasty, nutritious treats and sweet rewards. Fruit-bearing plants and edibles include favorites such as apples, cherries and plums, but these four backyard berries can expand your edible landscape and your homegrown fun:
Super-sweet flavor and extra-large berries put Blueray Blueberry high on the list for pre-breakfast berry picking. This hardy berry delivers more than mounds of mid-summer fruit. It has lovely, pink-white blooms in spring and striking, deep scarlet fall foliage. Self-pollinating Blueray is an excellent pollinator for other blueberries, too. Give the plant full sun and acidic soil, and then let pollinating bees and butterflies do their share. These low-maintenance shrubs grow 4 to 6 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide, so allow plenty of room for their mature size. (Hardiness zones 4 through 7)
Currants have a myriad of uses that gets everybody in on the fun. Consort Currant offers white May flowers followed by early summer clusters of firm, juicy, blue-black fruit. The sweet, musky flavor is favored in everything from jams and jellies to juice and wine. Dehydrate a batch and use them like raisins in cookies, breads and scones. As an added bonus, Consort currant naturalizes well and provides excellent bird habitat. Maximize this self-fertile berry’s fruit with full sun and slightly acidic soil. Allow room for its mature size of 4 to 6 feet tall and wide. (Hardiness zones 3 through 7)
Fall Gold Raspberry
If you thought all raspberries were red or black, Fall Gold Raspberry will broaden your horizons. A great variety for Eastern and Midwestern gardeners, it produces delicate white May flowers, which it follows up with large, flavorful, golden yellow berries. The abundant late-summer and fall crop is just the beginning; a second crop comes in spring on the same canes. Beautiful in the sunny landscape, this self-fertile, disease-resistant raspberry grows 4 to 5 feet tall, but just 2 to 3 feet wide. Enjoy the berries fresh or in preserves and pies – or freeze them whole for later. (Hardiness zones 4-8)
With homegrown berries in your backyard, you can enjoy the nutritional benefits of fresh-picked fruit and the fun that comes with growing your own.
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