How to Grow Summer Berries

Comparable to apples, pears or other tree fruits, bush and bramble fruits are easy to grow, can save on space and bear fruit just one year after planting. When selecting summer berry varieties, it's important to aim for a mix of different types so you can extend the harvest season and enjoy fresh berries for months.

Learn how to grow your own berries this summer with some tips on popular varieties.

Strawberries

Strawberries, and just about every other berry for that matter, don't like competition, so it's important to space out plants appropriately and frequently weed your garden. To enjoy a long cropping season, it's a good idea to plant at least two varieties from the strawberry family. A few varieties include:

  • Guardian is a newly developed, midseason variety that offers unusually good disease resistance and yields large, tasty, bright red berries.
  • Sparkle is a late-season variety that produces large crops of delicious berries that are more suitable for freezing than many other varieties.

Strawberries thrive in large, well-drained containers placed in full sun. Another easy method is to grow strawberries over the top of a low mound of compost-enriched soil.
 

Blackberries

Blackberries are among the simpler berry varieties to grow in your garden. With proper precautions taken while planting, you can count on a low-maintenance harvest.

The arching stems of blackberries require the support of stakes or a trellis, which can also be used to secure netting to protect fruit from birds. Blackberries produce yields in midsummer, making them a nice fit in your berry rotation.

However, with the kind of growing power blackberry plants have, they are capable of becoming weeds if not maintained. If you decide to plant in an open garden, you may want to confine blackberry roots with metal or fiberglass barriers sunk at least one foot underground.

Raspberries

Raspberries can be relatively easy to grow, and with proper care, can bear fruit for a number of years.

To get the most from red raspberries, plant at least two kinds ' a main crop variety for heavy early summer harvests, and a fall type to close out the berry harvesting season. Boyne and Heritage are popular varieties which will bear fruit in summer and fall, respectively.

Keep in mind raspberries require a fair amount of pruning. You'll find that raspberries produce many new canes, which can sap some of the nutrients from other more fruit-bearing canes. Some canes are necessary for the plant's development, but for maximum yields, you should try to prune all but six or eight canes per plant. Untrimmed canes should remain at about 30 inches tall.

Blueberries

Blueberries are among the trickiest berry varieties to plant. You'll want to make specific preparations before you begin planting.

When it comes to soil, blueberries are a bit more unpredictable than other berry varieties, due to their lack of fine root hairs. The soil pH needs to be acidic ' about 4.8. You can begin by finding your soil's pH using a soil test.

The most commonly planted blueberry variety is the highbush. Over the years, blueberry breeding has focused on this species, making it well-suited for a wider variety of climates.

Many berries thrive when planted with other varieties that fruit at different stages, but this is especially true of blueberries. To ensure high productivity, it's essential that you plant more than one variety of blueberry. Earliblue, Bluecrop and Coville, which are early, midseason and late-cropping, respectively, are some of the most popular types of blueberries.