Best Edible Berries to Grow in Your Garden

Few things taste sweeter than plump, sun-warmed berries picked at the peak of ripeness. When you think about growing edible berries, the first fruit that comes to mind is probably the strawberry. While strawberries are always a favorite addition to the garden, there are several other berry-producing plants that not only yield an abundance of fruit but also make attractive landscape shrubs or hedges.

Blueberries, currants and gooseberry bushes make great informal hedges along the back or sides of your yard or foundation plantings near your house, while thorny red raspberry bushes grown along a fence keep wandering cats, dogs and intrusive wildlife out of your yard. Here are a few edible berry varieties to consider growing in your garden:

Gooseberries

These edible berries grow on thick bushes that reach from 2 to 4 feet tall. They thrive in most of the country except in inland California and the hot southwestern deserts - although hybrid varieties are available for those areas.

Red Raspberries

A 20- to 30-foot row of raspberries will yield about a quart of fruit every other day for several weeks. A summer harvest variety and a fall or ever-bearing variety will keep producing berries until the first frost.

Blueberries

Blueberry bushes produce prodigious amounts of fruit and feature brilliant fall colors. Some of the newer varieties (such as 'Northland') are low enough to add to your perennial border. Besides needing protective netting to keep birds away, they require little maintenance.

Currants

These berries differ in taste and appearance, but red, white and black currants are related and they ripen at about the same time. Planting one or all varieties of these edible berries depends on your personal tastes and available space.

  • Red currants produce beautiful, scarlet-colored fruits in long, beaded clusters. White currants differ only in color, as both fruits are very juicy and tart.
  • Black currants are meatier and less juicy, with a musky flavor -an acquired taste when raw. But they make one of the finest jams in the world.

The fact that all of these varieties ripen at different times during the growing season means you'll have an almost endless supply of fresh, edible berries at your disposal.