On your journey to self-sufficiency, you may be wondering how you can produce more of your own food at home. Growing your own berry bushes is a great place to start!
Not only are homegrown berries delicious and versatile (they can be used for everything from wine to jam, pies to sauces – oh, and let’s not forget about eating them raw!) but they are also low-maintenance. Caring for berry bushes requires minimal investment of your time and resources.
Here are some of the best and most easy to grow berry bushes that you can grow in your own garden this year.
Strawberries are incredibly common, and while they don’t technically grow in a “bush” (more of a small clump) they are nonetheless incredibly easy to grow. Strawberries spread by producing dense runners. You will likely get a harvest sometime in the early summer, but there are also late-berain varieties available.
These perennial plants will continue to produce for you for several years, particularly if you take the time to divide the runners and replant them to keep the crop going.
Blueberries are the go-to acidic soil solution, working just fine in the mulches of pine trees and conditions of pond edges. There are varieties that grow well in Maine (USDA Zone 4), and others that can survive the heat USDA Zone 10. Blueberries have very few issues with pests and disease, and they freeze well for storage. They’ll start to give a harvest at two or three years old.
Loganberries are thornless plants that are actually hybrids between blackberries and raspberries. They produce large, ample fruits – just one plant can produce 12 pounds of berries! They grow in the full sun and need lots of staking. They ripen from July to August.
Raspberries are some of the most common berry bushes you can grow. They are so easy to cultivate that they often spring up in wooded areas, growing where other plants haven’t yet taken hold. They grow best in partial shade to full sun and establish quickly after returning each year.
Not only are they delicious, but they are very healthy. These will need to be pruned back each year to get good production from them. They—like many berries—can be trellised to make great productive garden borders which work as fences, wildlife habitat, and a perennial food source.
Marionberries aren’t as common as some other kinds of berries, but they are delicious nonetheless. They are closely related to more common berries like blackberries and loganberries.
Ready for harvest in late July, these berries grow best in zones 6 to 9. They form a dense trail that can easily be trained up a trellis. The bushes are self-pollinating.
Blackcurrants are perfect for sauces and sorbet! These fruits are grown on perennial shrubs that are hardy all the way to zone 2. The blackcurrant, therefore, is one of the few berry bushes that can grow in colder growing zones. Once it gets established, it will produce many pounds of fruit per year. It can be propagated via a hardwood cutting as well as bare root or potted plant.
Huckleberries grow wild in many areas of North America. They are perennial shrubs that remain evergreen throughout the year, growing up to three feet tall when grown in full sun. However, if you grow them in the shade, you’ll be rewarded with even more massive plants – they can reach ten feet or more!
Like blueberries, huckleberries also prefer acidic soil. They can be grown from seed or from cuttings.
Elderberries make phenomenal wine, syruprs, and jams. Even if you don’t ever decide to harvest the fruits from your elderberry bushes, you’ll love growing these plants, which produce lovely flowers with even more enjoyable fragrances.
This bush is best grown in full sun, ideally as a propagation from a cutting. However, you can also dig up suckers and replant them.
Blackberries are, of course, a common hedgerow fruit. They are not particularly fussy about the soil in which they grow and can thrive in many different conditions.
In s smaller garden, they can be problematic due to their extremely vigorous growth. However, less vigorous and even thornless varieties are available.
10. Ground Cherries
Also known as husk tomatoes or cape gooseberries, these low-lying plants are similar to the tomatillo and are part of the nightshade family. They can be grown in zone 4 or warmer and are best started as seeds indoors, about six weeks before the last frost.
11. Aronia Berries
Aronia berries may be fruits you have never heard of, but nonetheless, the Aronia berry bush is one of the easiest to cultivate. The plant produces suckers that can be planted as new plants. They produce a gorgeous display of color in the fall and remain free from diseases and pests throughout much of the year. They are hardy in zones 3 to 8 and are actually much sweeter after a frost.
They survive from Zone 2 to 9 and aren’t too particular about soil, though heavy clays can cause some drainage problems. They are a good understory tree with a tolerance for partial shade. They are members of the rose family and related to peaches, plums, cherries and crabapples.
Mulberry bushes are sometimes found in the wild but you can also buy the bushes for sale. These plants like to be grown in fertile, well-draining soil. They attract birds, meaning you’ll want to get to the fruits as soon as they are ripe!
Cranberries aren’t difficult to grow at home – as long as you have the right environment, that is. To grow cranberries, you will need soil that is acidic and peaty along with plenty of freshwater. Usually, cranberries are cultivated in a pond area or a wetland, but if you have a raised bed that you can equip with steady drip irrigation, you may be able to grow them, too.
Dewberries are easily grown from bare-root plants. These hardy perennials are resilient in zones 3 to 8, making the perfect addition to jellies, pies, and jams.