Starting a berry garden

Asked April 2, 2018, 1:49 PM EDT

Hello, I would like to have a garden producing strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. In each case, the desire is for flavor, in particular would like the sweetest possible fruits. In addition, would like to extend the harvest season for as long as possible. Should I consider a couple of varieties of each with slightly different harvest dates for that purpose? My space is approx. 12x8 and could be larger if necessary. My area for the garden is sunny for most of the day with good access to water if not supplied from above. I am in northern Harford County along the PA line. Even after reading the PDF with the listings of all the varieties and a brief description of each, I still am unsure of which makes most sense. Would you be able to make recommendations of disease resistant varieties of each that meet the expressed desires? Thank you!

Harford County Maryland fruit plant selection berries

1 Response

We first would recommend a soil test to determine the ph, nutrient levels, and organic matter in your soil. Blueberries, in particular, require acidic soil and a lot of organic matter. They will not grow well in the same soil bed with strawberries and raspberries, which do well with a higher ph. Here is information on how to get your soil tested. https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/soils/soil-testing
Read the following information about blueberries and the conditions they require. https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/blueberry-care. We generally recommend preparing the soil for blueberries in the fall (to make a pH adjustment, if needed) and then planting in the spring. Strawberries and raspberries would grow better together; otherwise, you have to consider amending one separate area of soil for the blueberries.

Cornell University has a good publication on strawberries, indicating which ones bear fruit in early, mid, and late season. Their chart also notes disease resistance. http://chemung.cce.cornell.edu/resources/strawberries

For raspberries, we would recommend any fall-bearing (primocane-bearing) type.

ckc