A Berry Fruitful Garden
There is something very satisfying about going into the yard and eating fruit you have grown. There is a large number of small fruits that grow very well in the Prince George area.
*Strawberries: A favourite in many local gardens as well as containers. Plant in full sun, in a well-drained slightly acidic (6.0-6.5 pH) soil. Prefers to be planted in hills or raised beds. Do not bury the crown. When dry, water the plants deeply and less often. Plants will produce runners that can be left or removed and transplanted into new rows. There are two types of plants. June bearing which produce one heavy crop in June/July and Day neutral varieties that produce one large crop in early summer and continue to produce throughout the summer into fall.
Recommended June bearing variety ~ Honeoye. Day Neutral varieties ~ Seascape, TriStar, Fort Laramie Quinault.
*Raspberries: Grown from canes. Plant in full sun in a well-drained soil rich in organic matter, with a pH of 5.8-6.5. Make sure area is clean of all perennial/annual weeds before planting, as raspberries can produce for years. Plant in rows spacing canes 50-100 cm apart. Extra support will be beneficial in keeping plants organized. Pruning and thinning is done in the spring. Remove old producing canes from the previous season and weak and spindly canes. For good fruit production water plants during dry spells.
Recommended varieties~ Boyne, Heritage, Fall Gold, Autumn Bliss, Killarney
*Hascap/Honeyberry: A fast growing, very hardy, attractive looking, edible honeysuckle that produces berries similar to a blue berry except elongated and tastes like a raspberry and blueberry mixed together. Earliest fruit of the season as flowers will tolerate a few degrees of frost. Plant in a sunny location. Once established plants only need to be watered during times of drought. Very low maintenance and rarely bothered by pests or disease. Need two or more different varieties for best fruit production.
Recommended varieties~ Honeybee, Polar Jewel (good pollinator), Borealis, Tundra, Aurora.
*Blueberries: An attractive looking, low maintenance plant, that produces tasty fruit. Plant in a full sun, in a well drained slightly acidic (pH 4.5-5.5) soil. Blueberries will not tolerate sitting in water for any length of time, so in poor draining soil, plant in raised beds. Uniform moisture is important during fruit development , and extra mulch could be beneficial. Self fertile, however 2 or more varieties could result in higher yields. Recommended varieties ~ NorthSky, Northland, Northcountry, Northblue, Hardy Blue, Patriot, Polaris, Chippewa
*Currants: Attractive, multi-stemmed, deciduous shrub with edible berries. Plant in full sun, but will tolerate partial shade during the heat of the day. Prefers moist, well-drained, fertile soil rich in organic matter, pH 6.5. In clay soil, plant on raised bed. During berry production keep soil moist but avoid getting moisture on foliage which can lead to fungal problems. An application of Lime Sulphur and Dormant Oil in early spring will help eliminate overwintering pests and disease. Self pollinating, however more than one variety can result in higher yields.
Recommended varieties~ Red currant, Black Currant~ Crandall.
*Gooseberries: closely related to Currants and have the same growing requirements.
*Hardy Kiwi: Produces small berry sized, smooth skinned, sweet fruit. Attractive ornamental vining plant that climbs. Plant in a well drained moist (not soggy) soil, in full sun in a sheltered location. Could benefit with extra winter protection.
Recommended variety: Issai Self-pollinating
*Blackberries ‘BabyCakes; : Is a new introduction. It produces Black berries on dwarf, thornless, compact plants. Plant in well-drained soil with pH of 6.5-7.5. I look forward to learning more about it.
*Lingonberry: Glossy green leaves, evergreen groundcover. White flowers in spring followed by red edible berries. Plant in moist well-drained slightly acidic soil, in full sun. Roots prefer cooler temperatures so placing mulch around the plant will help keep soil cool and moist.
*Elderberry: An attractive ornamental shrub with clusters of dark, edible berries ideal for making jam, jelly, syrup and wine. Rarely bothered by pests or disease. Plant in a sheltered, sunny location in a moist well-drained soil. For best fruit production, after a few years, remove the oldest branches, as it is the younger branches that are most productive, as flowers and fruit are produced on the currents season’s growth. Needs cross pollination
Recommended varieties: York, Nova
If you are looking to try something different, there is also a *’Himalayan Huckleberry available as well as *’Chicago hardy Fig Tree’.
Jos Van Hage owns and operates two Art Knapp Home and Garden Centres in Prince George
- Highway 16 west at Kimball Road
- Highway 97 North at Northwood Pulpmill Road