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Growing Blueberries in the Home Garden

Blueberries are a very popular fruit in the US because of their unique flavor, small edible seeds & ease of preparation.

Blueberries can be eaten fresh or used for jelly, jam, pies, pastries, or juice. Blueberry fruit is also low in calories & sodium, contains no cholesterol & is a source of fiber.

A major constituent of the fiber is pectin, known for its ability to lower blood cholesterol. Blueberries contain measurable quantities of ellagic acid, which has inhibiting effects on chemically induced cancer in laboratory studies.

Blueberry juice also contains a compound that prevents bacteria from anchoring themselves to the bladder, thereby helping to prevent urinary tract infections.

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slowly absorb the information....
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Should I Grow Blueberries at Home?

Blueberries could make a good fruit crop for home gardens since they require small space. At present, blueberry plants are not common in home plantings because the plants require highly acidic soil conditions for best results.

Few backyard soils in Ohio are naturally acidic enough to grow quality blueberries. The grower of blueberries must, therefore, make extra effort to acidify the soil before plant establishment. Then, the acidity level must be maintained over the life of the planting.

Due to the special concerns associated w/the rather demanding soil requirements of growing the crop, the soil must be amended w/organic matter & the pH must be corrected before proceeding to establish the planting.

Blueberry plants begin to produce fruit in the 3rd season; however, they do not become fully productive for about 6 years (Figure 1). Once in production, it is necessary to protect the fruit from loss to birds.

Blueberry Types & Cultivars

There are 3 main types of blueberries:
  • highbush
  • rabbiteye 
  • southern highbush

Only highbush blueberry is recommended for Ohio. Rabbiteye & southern highbush blueberries are recommended for the southern US. There are many good blueberry cultivars available.

Refer to Table 1 for recommended blueberry cultivars in Ohio. Highbush blueberries do not absolutely require two different cultivars for cross pollination purposes.

However, bigger berries & higher yield will result from cross pollination & thus it is desirable to plant at least two different cultivars.

Table 1. Highbush cultivars of blueberries for Ohio plantings.

Cultivar

Ripening Season

Yield

Fruit Size

Fruit Quality

Remarks

Bluetta

Early

Good

Medium

Fair

Vigorous, upright plant.

Collins

Early

Fair

Large

Good

Hardy, vigorous, upright plant.

Bluejay

Mid-Season

Moderate

Large

Good

Mummy berry resistant.

Bluecrop

Mid-Season

Good

Large

Medium

Productive, vigorous, hardy plant. Drought resistant.

Berkeley

Mid-Season

Good

Large

Medium

Hardy, vigorous, productive plant.

Herbert

Late Season

Good

Large

Excellent

Vigorous, productive hardy plant.

Elliott

Late Season

Good

Very Large

Good

Vigorous, hardy plant. Mummy berry resistant.

The highbush blueberry requires full sun for optimum yield & quality, & grows best where the soil is very acidic & well supplied w/moisture.

Soil pH should be in the range of 4 to 4.5 & have 4 to 7% organic matter or more.

On loam or clay loam soils, it is suggested that plants be grown on raised beds, 4' wide & 9" high for better water drainage. Such beds are not needed for production on sandy soils.

Climatic Requirements

In general, the climate throughout Ohio is suited to the production of blueberries. Plants are generally not hardy when temperatures drop below -20F.

Site & Soil Requirements for Blueberry Production

Soil Preparation

It's very important to test soil for pH, lime index, nutrient status & organic matter content before conducting soil preparation. Your soil should be tested twice; once before soil preparation & acidification & once after sulfur & fertilizer have been added.

Further adjustments may then be necessary. Your local Extension offices have soil-testing forms, bags & instructions available. Increase soil organic matter by adding grass clippings, manure, or leaves (not red maple or beech) according to soil test recommendations.

Incorporate the materials into the top 4 to 6" at least one year before planting.

Suggestions for Soil Acidification

If soil pH is above 4.5, apply granular sulfur to lower soil pH. Refer to Table 2 for general guidelines for the amount of granular sulfur to apply to 100 square feet of soil to be acidified. The material should be well mixed throughout the top 4"of soil, 3 months before planting.

Table 2. Amount of sulfur in pounds per 100 square feet required to
lower soil pH for blueberries.

Desired pH value for blueberries

Present
soil pH

4.5

5.5

sand

loam

clay

sand

loam

clay

4.5

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

5.0

0.4

1.2

1.4

0.0

0.0

0.0

5.5

0.8

2.4

2.6

0.4

1.2

1.4

6.0

1.2

3.5

3.7

0.8

2.4

2.6

6.5

1.5

4.6

4.8

1.2

3.5

3.7

7.0

1.9

5.8

6.0

1.5

4.6

4.8

7.5

2.3

6.9

7.1

1.9

5.8

6.0

Source: Midwest Small Fruit Pest Management Handbook, Bulletin 680

 

Planting

At planting, dig a hole 18" deep &18" wide & mix 1 cubic foot of peat moss w/top soil until the hole is filled 4" from the top. Set the plant & cover the roots w/the remaining peat-soil mix.

In heavy soils, an equal amount of peat can be mixed w/an equal amount of soil. Set plants 5' apart w/rows 10' apart. Apply 4" of sawdust or wood-chip mulch in a 2' wide band after planting & maintain a 4" depth & 4' band over the life of the planting.

Pruning

Blueberry plants normally don't need to be pruned for the first 3 years. Remove blossoms that appear in the year of planting & second year after planting to stimulate vigorous growth.

It's important to know the anatomy of a blueberry bush before attempting to prune blueberries (Figure 2). During the 4th year, the dormant plants should be pruned in mid-March.
 
At this time, remove dead & weak branches & thin, terminal wood w/small buds. Prune interior crossing branches to admit light to the center of the plant

Figure 2. Diagram of a blueberry bush.


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Growing Grapes in the Home Fruit Planting

HYG-1423-98

Gary Gao

Introduction

Figure 1. A beautiful grape arbor at Stan Hywet Garden in Akron.

Grapes are an excellent fruit for fresh use or processing into jam, jelly, juice, pie, or wine. In addition, grapevines can be ornamental and valuable as shade or screen plants in the home landscape when trained on a trellis or arbor (Figure 1). Well-grown grapevines of cultivars such as Concord can produce up to 20 pounds or more of the fruit per vine per year. Once established, well-tended grapevines can be productive for 40 years or more. Home fruit gardeners can be successful if they select the right cultivars, maintain a good fertility and pest management program, and properly prune grapevines annually.

Cultivar Selection

Grape cultivars may be of the American, European, or French hybrid types. American and French hybrid types are best suited to Ohio growing conditions because they tend to be more winter-hardy. Recommended American cultivars include Concord, Niagara, Delaware, Reliance, and Canadice (Table 1). Several French-American hybrids, such as Seyval Blanc and Vidal Blanc, are recommended for their wine making qualities and good winter hardiness. European grapes are not recommended for home plantings since they are not winter-hardy in Ohio.

Depending on the cultivars selected, grapevines will produce berries that may be red, blue, white (greenish-yellow), purple, or black with a distinctive flavor. Both seeded and seedless types are now available. Some cultivars are good table grapes while others make better wine grapes (Table 1). In Ohio, the earliest cultivars ripen beginning about mid-August, while the latest cultivars ripen fruit from late September to early October. Canadice is an example of an early season cultivar. Concord is a mid-season cultivar and the most popular grape in Ohio (Figure 2). Reliance is one of the best tasting, red seedless grapes (Figure 3). Catawba is a popular late-ripening cultivar used mostly for wines.

By selecting and planting different cultivars in the home planting, the gardener can spread the harvest over several weeks. However, if interested in planting only a few vines or even an isolated single vine, the gardener may do so without worrying about the necessity of planting different cultivars. Grapevines available to gardeners are self-pollinated or self-fruitful. Bees are not required for pollination.

Figure 2. Concord grape is the most popular grape in Ohio.

Disease tolerance is another important factor to consider since wet springs, and hot and humid summers tend to favor common diseases that attack grapes. Try to select grape cultivars that are least susceptible to diseases (Table 2). However, there are no grape cultivars that are disease resistant.

Planting

Early spring is the best time to plant grapevines. Fall planting is not recommended because plants are likely to be lost to heaving during the first winter. During the first year, the soil is prepared for planting, cultivars are selected, and vines are planted, mulched, fertilized, and kept free of weeds, insects, and diseases. Prune off broken or dead portions of branches and roots. At the same time, prune top growth to a single cane. During the first year, the vines are normally tied to a stake to keep them off the ground, prevent damage, and make spraying more effective. If the season of planting is dry, supplemental watering is also necessary to keep the vines growing. It is important to get as much first-year growth as possible.

Establishment

Three years are normally required to establish a grape planting. Vines planted for training on a trellis are normally placed 8 feet apart, while those planted for training on an arbor can be placed 4 feet apart. Before growth begins the second year, a support for the vines, either a trellis or an arbor, must be provided. Care of vines the second year is similar to that of the first year. However, during the second season, a system for training the vines should be selected.

Vines are trained to a particular system by pruning and tying the canes to the support system. In some methods of training grapevines, the canes are tied to wires above the trunk and arms of the vines. Such training works well where grapevines are to be grown on a fence or in an upright position. In another method of training, the canes are tied to the wires and the fruit bearing shoots are allowed to droop or hang down. A third method is the cordon type training system. Here the fruiting canes are developed from a horizontal extension of the trunk called a cordon. If canes are pruned long, they can be tied to the lower wires. If pruned short, they hang free. One of the most common training systems is called the single curtain/cordon bilateral system (Figure 4).

Table 1. Common Grape Cultivars Recommended for Home Fruit Plantings

Principal Cultivar

Season

Color of Fruit

Use(s)

Remarks

American

 

 

 

 

Canadice

Early

Red

T

Productive, flavor similar to Delaware, and seedless.

Steuben

Mid-season

Blue

T-W

Concord type, and very vigorous.

Delaware

Mid-season

Red

W

Excellent for wine, high sugar, good keeping quality.

Concord

Mid-season

Blue

J-W

Most widely grown grape in Ohio, large bunches and berries, a favorite of many.

Reliance

Mid-season

Red

T

Excellent quality, productive, seedless, and very hardy.

Niagara

Late season

White

J-W

Excellent for wine. A standard white grape of Ohio.

Cayuga White

Late season

White

W

New wine cultivar for Ohio, productive, moderately hardy.

Catawba

Late season

Red

W

Principal wine grape of Ohio.

French-American Hybrid

 

 

 

 

DeChaunac

Mid-season

Red

W

Good wine grape, productive and hardy

Seyval Blanc

Early season

White

W

Excellent wine grape.

Vidal Blanc

Late season

White

W

Excellent wine grape, vigorous, hardy, and productive.

T = table grape; W = wine; J = juice

 

Table 2. Relative Disease Susceptibility of Common Grape Cultivars

Principal Cultivar

Black Rot

Downy Mildew

Powdery Mildew

Botrytis

American

Canadice

***

**

*

**

Steuben

**

*

*

*

Delaware

**

***(1)

**

*

Concord

***

*

**

*

Reliance

***

***

**

*

Niagara

***

***

**

*

Cayuga White

*

**

*

*

Catawba

***

***

**

*

French-American Hybrid

DeChaunac

*

**

**

*

Seyval Blanc

**

**

***

***

Vidal Blanc

*

**

***

*

Key to ratings: * = slightly susceptible or sensitive; ** = moderately susceptible or sensitive; *** = highly susceptible or sensitive; ? = relative susceptibility or sensitivity not established; (1) = berries not susceptible.Figure 4. Grapevines trained to single cordon bilateral system.

Pruning and Training

Annual pruning is important in maintaining a uniform yearly production of quality fruit. The best time to prune grapevines is in the dormant season after the danger of severe cold weather has past. In Ohio this is usually in March. Learning to prune grapevines requires practice and experience. Consult Bulletin 591, Growing and Using Fruit at Home and/or Bulletin 815, Grapes: Production, Management and Marketing for detailed information regarding pruning. Your local Extension office can assist you in obtaining this information. Some of the local Extension offices may also offer pruning clinics.

Fertilizer and Lime

Grapes perform best where the soil pH is between 5.0 and 6.0. Apply lime only when soil analysis indicates a need. Apply 8 ounces of 10-10-10 fertilizer per plant seven days after planting. Increase the amount of fertilizer to 1 pound of 10-10-10 in the second year and 11/2 pounds per vine in the third and later years about 30 days before new growth begins in the spring. Do not concentrate fertilizer at the base of the trunk. Keep fertilizer 6 to 12 inches from the trunk and spread evenly under the spread of the vine.

Figure 3. Reliance grape is one of the best tasting, red seedless table grape.

During the third season, some harvest may be expected from the vines. The first full crop, however, will not be produced until about the fourth or fifth year. It is important that cultural practices of maintaining soil fertility, weed control, soil moisture conservation, and insect and disease control be continued not only during the third year, but in subsequent years as well. Control weeds by hand hoeing or with plastic or organic mulch. A clean area 11/2 to 2 feet on each side of the vine is necessary. Do not damage trunks with a hoe or chemicals.

Pest Management

Grapes certainly have their share of insects, mites, and diseases. Selecting disease tolerant cultivars, good sanitation practices, managing vine canopies for good air movement, pest scouting, and an effective spray program are all part of a successful pest management program. Common grape diseases are black rot, downy mildew, powdery mildew, phomopsis cane and leaf spot, and botrytis bunch rot or gray rot. Major insects and mites on grapes are grape berry moth, Japanese beetle, grape flea beetle, European red mite, grape root borer, and grape phylloxera. Refer to OSU Extension Bulletin 780, Controlling Disease and Insects in Home Fruit Plantings, and Bulletin 506 B2, Ohio Commercial Small Fruit and Grape Spray Guide, and Bulletin 861, Midwest Small Fruit Pest Management Handbook for more information. There are also fact sheets available on the control of selected grape diseases and insects.

Figure 4. Grapevines trained to single cordon bilateral system.

Summary

Home fruit growers can have a great deal of success with grape production if they know what is involved and are willing to do the work. It is also a very rewarding experience to be able to grow your personal favorite grapes that are not available in grocery stores or farmers╝ markets. In addition, home grape growers will get a greater appreciation of high quality grapes produced by farmers.

The author gratefully acknowledges Richard C. Funt, James D. Utzinger, and Garth A. Cahoon on whose original fact sheet this is based. The author also thanks Gayle Lykins for her secretarial help with this fact sheet.

 

NOTE: Disclaimer - This publication may contain pesticide recommendations that are subject to change at any time. These recommendations are provided only as a guide. It is always the pesticide applicator's responsibility, by law, to read and follow all current label directions for the specific pesticide being used. Due to constantly changing labels and product registrations, some of the recommendations given in this writing may no longer be legal by the time you read them. If any information in these recommendations disagrees with the label, the recommendation must be disregarded. No endorsement is intended for products mentioned, nor is criticism meant for products not mentioned. The author and Ohio State University Extension assume no liability resulting from the use of these recommendations.

 

All educational programs conducted by Ohio State University Extension are available to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis without regard to race, color, creed, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, gender, age, disability or Vietnam-era veteran status.

Keith L. Smith, Associate Vice President for Ag. Adm. and Director, OSU Extension.

 

Growing Watermelon in the Home Garden

History

Africa is considered to be the native home of the watermelon. It was found growing wild by Livingstone in 1854. On the American continent, watermelons were grown as early as 1629 in Massachusetts & prior to 1664 in Florida.

Harvesting

Some experience is required to harvest a watermelon at its peak of perfection. As a watermelon ripens, the ground spot changes from pale green or white to cream or yellow. The tendrils near the fruit stem will dry & turn brown.

The sound of a watermelon, when thumped w/a finger, is a muffled, dull tone if it is ripe. An immature fruit will thump w/a clear, metallic ringing tone. .

Climate

The watermelon is tender to frost & requires a long growing season w/relatively high temperatures. Daytime temperatures between 70 & 80 degrees F & nighttime temperatures between 65 & 70 degrees F are ideal. Watermelons grow well in both humid & semi-arid areas, but foliar diseases are less destructive in drier climates.

Fertilizer & Lime

Fertilizer applications are best based on soil test results. Soil sample bags, forms & instructions are available from your county Extension office. General recommendations, when using black plastic mulch, would be one pound of actual nitrogen, two pounds of phosphorus (P2O5) & three pounds of potash (K2O) per 1,000 square feet. On bare ground, increase the amount of nitrogen by 25%.

This would best be done as a sidedress application when vines begin to run. Application of lime is less important for watermelon than muskmelon or cucumber, since watermelon will tolerate a pH from 5.0 to 6.8. Growth is actually best in a pH range of 6.0 to 6.8.

Culture

The use of black plastic mulch will conserve moisture, suppress weed growth & assist in an earlier harvest by warming the soil. Plants or seeds should be spaced 2 to a hill, 3-4' apart, on the strips of plastic placed on 5' centers.

Watermelon plants may be purchased or started in peat pots or pellets about 4 weeks before the anticipated planting time. Because watermelon plants are very sensitive to freezing temperatures, they should not be set out until all danger of frost has passed. Watermelons may also be direct-seeded through holes cut in the plastic, but this may delay harvest.

Varieties

Watermelons are available in many sizes, shapes & colors. The shapes vary from round to oblong w/colors ranging from light green to almost black.

The fruit skin color can be solid, striped, or marbled. The edible portion of the flesh can be yellow, pink, pink- red, bright red, or deep red.

An additional choice of seeded vs. seedless is also available. Actually, while most of the "seeds" are thin, whitish, edible structures, there may be a few normal appearing seeds. Here are some recommended cultivated varieties, or "cultivars", grouped by flesh color:

Red

  • Madera
  • Fiesta
  • Oasis
  • Royal Sweet
  • Starbright
  • Crimson Sweet
  • Summer Festival
  • Royal Charleston
  • Sugar Baby (ice box type)
  • Sweet Favorite

Yellow

  • Sunshine
  • Yellow Baby
  • Yellow Doll
  • Golden Crown

Seedless (hybrid triploid) cultivars worthy of trial are:

  • Hybrid 313
  • Triple Sweet
  • King of Hearts
  • Queen of Hearts
  • Crimson Trio
  • Scarlet Trio
  • Tiffany

(Home gardeners should recognize that hybrid triploid watermelons are more difficult to grow than seeded types.)

Insects & Diseases

Cucumber beetles, aphids, mites, Fusarium wilt, anthracnose, alternaria leaf spot & gummy stem blight are some of the potential problems in watermelon plantings. Some cultivars are resistant to some diseases. Contact your county Extension agent for current control recommendations.

Pollination

Home gardeners sometimes wonder why the earliest watermelon blossoms do not set fruit. The first flowers developing on the vines are male or pollen-bearing flowers. Only the female, or pistillate, flowers are capable of developing into fruit.

Honey bees are the most effective pollinators of watermelon blossoms. Every effort should be made to protect the bees during the flowering period to ensure high-quality fruit.

Raspberries for the Backyard Fruit Planting

Raspberries can be used in a variety of appealing ways. Freshly prepared & sugared raspberries are excellent when served alone or used to make a raspberry sundae.

The fruit can also be used to make delicious jams, jellies, pies, & other desserts. Besides their excellent flavor, raspberries are a nutritious food, contributing vitamins A & C & various minerals to the diet.

In addition, raspberries contain a natural substance called ellagic acid, which is an anti-carcinogenic (cancer-preventing) compound.

Raspberries ripen shortly after strawberries and make an excellent small fruit crop for summer and fall depending on the cultivars selected. Two years are required to establish a raspberry planting, but once established, the planting can remain productive for several years if given good care.

Types & Cultivars (Varieties)

Raspberries may be classified by fruit color and/or fruiting habit. They may be red, black, purple, or yellow-fruited types. The black raspberry is most popular in Ohio. The red type is the second most popular type. The red raspberry is first to ripen, followed by the black, purple, and yellow cultivars. Compared with black raspberries, red raspberries tend to be more cold hardy, have larger berries, and have more erect canes. Black raspberries are less cold hardy; have smaller, seedier, and more aromatic berries; and have arching canes. Purple raspberries are hybrids of red and black raspberries and tend to respond in growth habit similar to black raspberries. Most yellow raspberries are similar to red raspberries in growth habit.

Raspberries may also be classified as summerbearing or everbearing. Summerbearing cultivars produce one crop in the early summer, while everbearing cultivars can produce up to two crops a year, one crop being produced in the spring and the second crop in the fall. Most everbearing raspberries are of red or yellow type. Cultivars recommended for planting in Ohio gardens are listed in Table 1.

Table 1. Recommended Raspberries & Their Cultural Characteristics

Fruiting Habit

Cultivar

Fruit Color

Ripening Season

Cultural Characteristics

Summer-bearing

Allen

Black

Early to mid-season

Large & attractive fruits w/mild flavor. Plants are vigorous & productive.

Medium to large fruits w/good quality & flavor. Plants are vigorous, productive & resistant to anthracnose.

Fruits are medium sized w/good flavor. Plants are vigorous & productive. Its for trial in Ohio.

The leading cultivar & producer in Ohio. Large, glossy & firm fruits w/good quality. Hardy, vigorous & productive.

Black Hawk

Black

Late season

Haut

Black

Early

Bristol

Black

Early

Liberty

Red

Mid-season

 

Medium sized fruit w/good flavor & freezing quality. Productive.

Small fruit w/good color & fair flavor.

 

Moderately productive.

 

Vary cold hardy.

Medium sized fruit w/good flavor.

 

Moderately productive. Cold hardy.

Medium to large sized fruit w/good flavor. Plants are vigorous & high yielding.

Bright red, firm, & medium sized fruits w/good flavor. Productive w/fair hardiness.

Latham

Red

Mid-season

Newburgh

Red

Mid-season

Reveille

Red

Early

Sentry

Red

Mid-season

Brandywine

Purple

Late

Large, reddish, & tart fruits that are good for jams & jellies.

 

More vigorous & productive than most black raspberries.

Large & reddish fruits are sweet & flavorful when eaten fresh.

 

Vigorous & extremely productive.

Royalty

Purple

Late

Everbearing

Heritage

Red

Late

Medium sized fruits w/good color & flavor, firmness & freezing quality.

 

High yielding.

Large & soft fruits w/good flavor.

 

Moderately productive.

Redwing

Red

Mid-season

Fall Gold

Yellow

Early

Medium sized & soft fruits w/excellent flavor. Moderately yielding. For trial only.

All the above cultivars are self-fruitful and can produce crops w/out cross-pollination. It is also helpful to visit extension agents or local raspberry growers for information about cultivars that are good for your local area.

 

Establishing the Planting

Raspberries will grow and produce on many different types of soil but will be most productive on sandy loam soils well supplied with organic matter and plant nutrients. The soil should be well drained and have a pH between 5.8 and 6.5. Plant raspberry bushes on ridges or in raised beds if drainage is a problem.

Raspberries should be planted in an open site that receives at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight. Avoid planting raspberries within 300 feet of any wild blackberry or wild raspberry plants and in areas where tomatoes, potatoes, or eggplants have been grown previously. Early spring planting is preferred over fall planting. Plant as soon as the soil can be properly prepared. The plants can be established either in hedgerows or using the hill system depending on the types of raspberries (Table 2). Also refer to Table 2 for recommended training systems and spacing. Planting too closely results in undesirable competition, while planting too far apart wastes space.

Table 2. Training Systems & Plant Spacing for Raspberries*

Type of Raspberries

Training System

Plant Spacing in the Rows

Spacing between Rows

Red, yellow Raspberry

Hedgerow, low trellis

2 Feet

10 Feet

Black Raspberry

Hill, low trellis

2.5 Feet

10 Feet

Erect Raspberry

Hill, no trellis

3 Feet

12 Feet

Purple Raspberry

Hill, no trellis

3 Feet

12 Feet

Thornless Raspberry

Hill, high trellis

6 Feet

12 Feet

*Spacing between rows should be increased for fertile soils.

 

diagram of a raspberry plant

Pruning

It is very important to understand the terms used to describe various parts of a raspberry plant before attempting to prune raspberries (Figure 1). Raspberry canes are of 2 types:

  • primocanes - are first year canes
  • floricanes - are second-year fruiting canes

Summer red raspberries should be pruned twice a year, first in the spring & immediately after harvest (Figure 2). The spring pruning, in late March or early April, consists of removing all weak canes & cutting back tall canes (over 5 feet) to 4.5 to 5 feet.

The second pruning consists of the removal of canes that produced fruits, right after harvest.

red raspberry plant trained to a hedgerow left
red raspberry plant before & after pruning
and then on the right after being pruned

Everbearing red raspberries such as "Heritage" raspberry can be pruned to produce fruit once a year or twice a year. If you follow the pruning methods used for summer red raspberries, "Heritage" raspberry will produce fruit once in spring and once in fall. However, many home gardeners and commercial growers mow or cut all "Heritage" canes to the ground in early spring (March or April) for the sake of simplicity. "Heritage" raspberry pruned this way will produce only one crop starting in early August in southern Ohio, and mid-August in central Ohio.

Black and purple raspberries are pruned three times a year: in the spring, summer, and after fruiting (Figure 3). First pruning is done in spring when lateral branches are cut back to 8 to 10 inches in length in mid-March. Second pruning is called tipping or heading of new canes or primocanes. When grown without supports, summer tipping is done when black raspberry canes reach 24 inches in height and when purple types reach 30 inches. Tipping is done by removing the top 2 to 3 inches of new shoots as they develop. Third pruning involves the removal of canes that produced fruits, right after the harvest.

Cultural Practices

The raspberry must be kept free of weeds, watered when necessary, fertilized, pruned regularly, kept free of insect and disease pests, and in some cases, supported with a trellis.

Weed Control & Soil Moisture Conservation

Mechanical removal of weeds is highly recommended. A mulch of straw, sawdust, or other appropriate material can be very helpful for weed control, and soil moisture conservation in the raspberry plantings where soil drains well. If soils are too heavy in texture and retain too much moisture, it may not be good to mulch raspberry plants. Mulching can worsen phytophthora root rot and/or verticillium wilt in raspberries planted in poorly drained soils.

Fertilizing

Fertilizer or lime applications are best made following the recommendations based on the soil testing results. Forms, sample bags, and instructions for soil testing can be obtained from your local Extension office. Soil fertility should be maintained by two applications of one pound of a 10-10-10 fertilizer or the equivalent per 100 feet of row at 10 and 40 days after planting. For the years after planting, raspberry plants need to be fertilized twice a year. The fertilizer should be broadcast in the row area once in the spring before growth begins in March, and one more time in May. Apply 2 to 3 pounds of a 10-10-10 fertilizer per 100 feet of row in each application. 

Insects & Diseases

The principal insects of raspberries are the:

  • raspberry cane borer
  • raspberry fruitworm
  • red-necked cane borer
  • Japanese beetle

The common diseases on raspberries are:

  • mosaic virus
  • orange rust
  • anthracnose
  • cane blight
  • spur blight
  • crown or cane gall
  • verticillium wilt

If you live in Ohio: For additional information about growing raspberries, you may purchase Bulletin 591, Growing & Using Fruit at Home; Bulletin 783, Brambles, Production, Management & Marketing; & Bulletin 780, Controlling Diseases & Insects in Home Fruit Plantings from your local Extension office.

Supporting the Plants

A trellis can help make the crop easier to manage & keep the canes off the ground so that berries are cleaner & easier to pick. A trellis can be constructed w/posts at 15 to 20 foot intervals w/cross arms to support wires placed 24 to 28" apart. The wires should be about 36" high for red raspberries & 40" high for the black & purple types.

If you need to tie up to the wires or trellis, recycle your ruined pantyhose as tie ups! Simply cut into strips & tie to trellis! 

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black raspberry bush trained to the hill system
black raspberry bush
before - left & after - pruning

big beautiful berries!

strawberries - grown in your home garden

Strawberries are well suited for planting in the home garden since they produce fruits very quickly & require a relatively small amount of space.

Each plant may produce up to one quart of fruit when grown in a matted row during the first fruiting year. 25 plants will normally produce enough strawberries for an average sized family.

Production usually declines during the 2nd & 3rd years of fruiting; therefore a new planting should be established after strawberry plants produce fruits for more than 3 to 4 years for maximum production.

 

Table 1. Cultural Characteristics of Recommended Strawberry Cultivars

Cultivar

Ripening Season (Days After Earliglow)

Berry Size

Freezing Quality

Dessert Quality

Yield

June-Bearers

Earliglow

0

Med

Large

Very Good

Very Good

Medium

Lester

5

Large

Fair

Good

Medium

Redchief

5

Large

Very Good

Good

High

Surecrop

5

Large

Good

Good

Medium

Guardian

8

Very Large

Fair

Good

High

Midway

9

MedLarge

Very Good

Good

High

Kent

10 Large

Poor

Fair

High

 

Delite

10

Large

Good

Fair

High

Lateglow

12

Large

Fair

Good

High

Day-Neutral

Tristar

5

Small

Good

Fair

Medium

Tribute

5

Small

Good

Fair

Medium

Table 2. Disease Resistance of Recommended Strawberry Cultivars

Cultivar

Leaf Spot

Leaf Scorch

Red Stele

Verticilium Wilt

Powdery Mildew

June-Bearers

Earliglow

R

R

R

R

S to I

Guardian

S to I

R

R

R

S

Midway

VS

S

R

I

U

Lester

U

R

R

S

R

Redchief

S

R

R

I

R

Kent

S

I

S

S

S

Surecrop

I to R

I

R

VR

U

Delite

R

R

R

R

U

Lateglow

R

R

R

VR

S

Day-Neutral

Tristar

T

T

R

T to R

R

Tribute

T

T

R

R

R

S = susceptible, VS = very susceptible, I = intermediate reaction, R = resistant (the disease doesnt occur on that cultivar or only to a very small degree), VR = very resistant, T = tolerant (the disease is clearly evident, but with little or no apparent detrimental effect on plant or yield), U = unknown.
*Cultivars are only resistant to specific races of the red stele fungus. If races are present in the planting or are introduced into planting for which resistance genes are not available, red stele can develop on "resistant" cultivars.

 

 

 

Strawberry plants produce attractive fruit w/fine flavor. Strawberries have a very high vitamin C content & are versatile as a dessert food.

Most cultivars of strawberries are well suited to freezing & processing as well as for fresh use. Many people enjoy eating the fresh-picked fruit. Strawberries are also excellent for jams, jellies & pies.

Freshly sliced & sugared strawberries are excellent when served chilled either alone or over shortcake or ice cream. In addition, strawberries contain a natural substance called ellagic acid, which is an anti-carcinogenic (cancer-preventing) compound.

how many more reasons do you need to grow your own strawberries at home? besides, if you are an atkins dieter, strawberries are one of the allowable fruits to eat! - they are so sweet!

June Bearers vs. Day-Neutral Types

Strawberry plants may be of 2 major types, June-bearing or day-neutral. June-bearing plants are cultured to produce a full crop the season after planting. In Ohio, the ripening season of June-bearing strawberry cultivars ranges from late May to the end of June.

Day-neutral type strawberry plants differ from the standard or June-bearing types in that they produce a full crop the first season they are planted.

June-bearing types are most popular for the home garden & commercial use & are well worth waiting for because of their flavor & quality. One can't tell by looking at the plant whether they are of the day-neutral or June-bearing type; therefore, when purchasing plants, it is important to specify which type is desired.

It's certainly a good idea to plant both types to get fruit production in the first year from day-neutral strawberries & high yield & quality from June-bearing strawberries.

Cultivar Selection

Home fruit growers have a large number of cultivars (varieties) to select from. The selection is much greater for the June-bearing types than for the day-neutral types.

It's important to know the ripening season, yield, berry size, freezing quality & dessert quality of recommended cultivars in order to select cultivars according to personal needs.

In addition, selecting disease resistant cultivars will help growers reduce the risks of damage from plant diseases. Home strawberry growers are encouraged to check the references listed or talk w/Extension Agents or local commercial strawberry growers for additional information about strawberry cultivars.

Planting Site Requirements for Strawberry Plants Strawberry plants require full sun for the maximum yield & the best quality. They will grow & produce crops in several different types of soil. However, best results are obtained when the plants are grown in loose, fertile soils containing large quantities of organic matter.

The soil should be slightly acidic, having a pH of 5.8 to 6.5. If the extent of soil acidity or fertility is unknown, it is suggested that the soil be sampled & tested. Arrangements for soil testing can be made through your county Extension office. Request special tests for organic matter & boron. Lime & fertilizers should be applied to soils according to soil test results.

The strawberry plant is sensitive to excessive soil moisture. Strawberries should be planted in raised beds or on ridges if drainage is a problem. Also, avoid planting strawberry plants in areas where potatoes, tomatoes, or sod were grown recently. Insect & disease problems may result in serious plant damage in such areas.

Cultural Problems for Growing Strawberry Plants

Important cultural practices for growing strawberries include planting techniques & spacing, weed control, proper fertilizer, blossom removal, irrigation, renovation of strawberries after harvest, insect & disease control & mulch for protection from cold temperatures & diseases.

Planting & Spacing

Early spring is the best time to plant strawberry plants as long as soil is not too wet. Fall planting is not recommended because plants can be injured by soil heaving (alternate freezing & thawing). Strawberry plants have roots, a crown & leaves. The crown is a short stem between the roots & leaves.

When planting, make sure to cover the roots & only half of the crown w/soil. Make a trench deep enough to set the roots vertically. Don't bend roots horizontally.

June-bearing plants are spaced 12" to 24" apart. On close-spaced plants, runners are controlled by removing unwanted runners during the first season.

In August, rows should be 18" to 24" wide w/plants 6" to 8"  apart in the row. Generally rows are 36" to 40" apart. A circular terrace can be used if one has limited space.

For day-neutral strawberries, plants are set 8" to 12" apart in the row w/30" to 36" between rows. Remove runners throughout the first season & remove flowers for the first 6 weeks after planting. Mulch the planting w/3" to 4" of straw or wood chips to conserve moisture.

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Renovation of Strawberries After Harvest

Strawberry plants can be fruited more than one year but probably not for more than 3 harvest seasons, depending on the vigor & number of plants.

June-bearing strawberries should be renovated every year right after harvest if one desires excellent fruit production for more than one year.

First control weeds by mechanical means or labeled herbicides. Remove all old leaves w/a mower or a sickle. Make sure to set the mower as high as the blade will go to avoid injuring plant crowns.

Narrow the rows to a width of about 12" by cultivating between them w/a rotary tiller. Thin the plants within each row, leaving 4 to 6" between plants. Topdress beds with 0.5 to 1" of soil.

Broadcast 2.5 pounds of 10-10-10 fertilizer per 100 square feet of planting. Apply 1" of water each week to promote growth if it doesn't rain. The strawberry patch may look very depressing right after renovation.

However, strawberry plants do recover beautifully & will be much more productive.

Insect & Disease Control

Many problems due to insects & diseases in the home garden can be avoided by selecting sites where sod, tomatoes, or potatoes have not been recently grown; planting disease-free & disease-resistant planting stock & using good cultural practices.

If you live in Ohio: For additional information on insect & disease management, refer to the following OSU Extension publications: Bulletin 780, Controlling Disease & Insects in Home Fruit Plantings; Bulletin 506 B2, Ohio Commercial Small Fruit & Grape Spray Guide; & Bulletin 861, Midwest Small Fruit Pest Management Handbook. If you don't live in Ohio: check for your own state on the internet or contact your own County Extension Office for information regarding your area. 

Weed Control

Mechanical cultivation, mulching & certain herbicides are suited to maintain essentially weed-free planting. Mechanical cultivation & mulches are recommended.

Lime & Fertilizers

Soil testing every 2 to 3 years is highly recommended for the best yield & quality.

Apply nutrients & lime (if needed) prior to planting according to soil test results. Apply 1 oz. (10 oz. 10-10-10) of actual nitrogen broadcast per 100 square feet of plant or 0.5 ounce (5 oz. 10-10-10) banned 4" to 6" away from the plants 7 to 10 days after planting. Apply 1 to 1.5 ozs. actual nitrogen broadcast in mid-June if rainfall has been excessive & again in mid-August.

In the fruiting years, apply 1 to 1.5 ozs actual nitrogen broadcast after harvest & again in mid-August.

Blossom Removal

Remove the flower stalks of June-bearing strawberry plants as they appear throughout the first growing season. More production can be expected if the plants are allowed to attain large size before fruiting.

Remove the blossoms of day-neutral types of plants as they appear until about the middle of June (first year only). Then allow flowers to set fruit for harvest during the remainder of the season (August through October).

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Irrigation

Additional watering is needed during dry seasons. Plants require 1" to 1.5" of water per week from mid-June to mid-August. Take care in watering so that the soil does not remain soggy for any prolonged period.

Frost Protection

Strawberry flower buds are very susceptible to spring frosts. Mulches used for winter protection should be pulled from plants in early spring, before there is much leaf yellowing.

The mulch should be left in the alleyways & can be used to cover blossom in the spring when frost is predicted, especially w/early cultivars, such as Earliglow. Frost protection could be the difference between a good crop & no crop.

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Winter Mulching

In addition to value for weed control, mulching is necessary to provide winter protection for the plants. Apply straw that is free of weed seeds 2 to 3" deep over the plants after they have been subjected to several sharp freezes in the low 30's or high 20's in fall. This is generally between November 15th & 30th, but no later than December 15th.

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In subsequent years, thin out older branches to force new growth. Tall-growing branches can be headed back & thin branches removed.

Flower buds of blueberry bush are produced on tips & down the second year old shoots (Figure 3.) Blueberry bushes tend to produce smaller berries when they are over loaded w/fruits. Hence, it is important not to have too many flower buds.

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Figure 3. Diagram of blueberry buds.

Fertilizers

Fertilizers for blueberry production are best applied using soil test results as a guide. At planting, apply 1/2 to 2/3 pound of ammonium sulfate (or 10 to 16 ozs. of 10-10-10) per 100 feet of row 4 weeks after planting. Keep fertilizer at least 6" away from plant.

In the 2md through 12th, apply 1 to 1.5 pounds of ammonium sulfate (2 to 3 pounds of 10-10-10) per 100 feet of row each year for fertility & acidity maintenance.

Apply 0.5 pound of the ammonium sulfate at bloom & the remaining 0.5 pound 4 to 6 weeks later. If plant leaves become chlorotic, apply 2 to 3 ozs. of ferrous sulfate or iron chelate around the base of the plants each year.

Watering

Blueberry bushes have very shallow root systems & are very sensitive to water fluctuations. They need at least 1 to 2" of water per week.

In dry seasons, supplemental watering is essential to obtain good yields of high quality products. However, do not apply water after early September unless soil is very dry.

Mulching

Generous use of mulches like sawdust or peat moss will help control weeds, conserve moisture & keep roots cool. Increased organic matter from decomposing mulch will help improve soil structure & nutrient uptake of blueberry bush. Replenish mulch as needed to keep the mulch depth at 2" to 4".

Insects & Diseases

Some potential insect problems in blueberries include"

  • blueberry tip borer
  • plum curculio
  • cranberry fruit worm
  • cherry fruitworm

Disease problems include:

  • mummy berry
  • powdery mildew
  • twig blights
  • botrytis blossom blight
  • leaf spots
  • cane gall

For more information about growing blueberries, obtain a copy from your Extension office of Bulletin 591, "Growing and Using Fruit at Home" & Bulletin 780, "Controlling Disease & Insects in Home Fruit Planting."

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