How to Grow Sweet and Flavorful Berries
If you are looking for a delicious and nutritious way to add some sweetness to your life, look no further than berries! Berries are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, and they taste great too.
In this blog post, we will give you tips on how to grow your own sweet and flavorful berries right in your backyard.
Berries are a favorite summertime snack and treat. Growing your own berries is so easy and it can be a very rewarding experience.
Common reasons your berries are not flavorful
- Too much water can be a big factor in your berries not having enough flavor.
This is particularly true for larger berries that will hold onto more water like strawberries. While you can not control the severity of the rain in your area that can leave your berries soaked, you can be careful to not overwater your berries when it is not raining.
The top inch or so of soil can safely dry out without causing problems for your berry plants.
- Lack of sunlight.
For your berries to truly thrive they should be grown in a full sun location. Not only is the sun vital to your plants being able to produce enough energy to fuel the growth of your berry harvest but in turn, the amount of energy that can be put into each berry helps to make them more flavorful.
- Soil quality can play a major factor in the success of your berry plants.
When looking for a palace to plant your berries in your yard look for an area where weeds tend to grow very easily.
While you may be fighting the weeds for a while these pesky unwanted plants are a great indicator of the soil quality in an area. If a large number of weeds and native plants thrive then your soil is naturally healthy and balanced.
Choosing flavorful berry varieties
The best thing you can do to ensure that you get sweet and flavorful berries is to intentionally pick berry varieties that do provide the sweetness you want.
While some berries are naturally less sweet, like mulberries, others have a wide range of flavor varieties created through cross-pollination.
This is particularly true for strawberries which have many amazing options. choose a sweeter strawberry variety for munching and stick with a less sweet one for things like jams and jellies where you will be adding more sugar anyways.
Everbearing strawberries are great for providing you with berries all season but June-bearing berries are more likely to give you the big, juicy, and flavorful berries you love.
Things you may be doing to make your berries less sweet and flavorful
While you only have so much control over the end quality of your berries after you have planted them there are a few steps you can make to help ensure that you get a wonderfully sweet, flavorful crop of berries.
Too much water
While your berry plants need water to thrive it is not uncommon for an overly wet season to lead to less flavorful berries. While there is not much you can do for your berries if you have a very wet growing season you can avoid adding additional water.
If you set up an irrigation system for your plants, avoid having it around your berry bushes, and be sure to shut off any automatic timers if you have a lot of rain.
Too much fertilizer
Too much fertilizer can leave your plants growing wild and crazy but often results in fewer berries and those that do grow can often be lacking in flavor and intensity.
Instead, stick to adding a fresh layer of compost to your beds containing berries. For berries that you do choose to mulch, use one that will benefit the plants as they break down such as pine needles for blueberry plants.
Not enough fertilizer
While you can certainly overdo it and leave your plants focused on growth rather than on producing the flavorful berries you love, starving your plants of the nutrition they need can cause your berries to have less flavor.
This is particularly true with berries like blueberries that need to have slightly acidic soil that helps give blueberries their tart flavor.
To find the right balance between not enough fertilizer and too much you can test your soil PH and keep it within the needed range for the berries you are growing. A digital PH tester can make this easy and allow you to test the soil all-around your garden.
You planted your berries in a bad location
Sometimes we plant and think that we picked a good spot but it turns out that your berry bushes and plants do not get enough sun, are in an area that tends to flood or have planted your berries in compacted soil.
Much of this can be avoided by tilling compost into the soil and taking the time to check for shade sources.
You can still move many of your berry plants to make it easier to get a flavorful crop while reducing your workload.
Picking your berries too soon
If you pick your berries before they have had time to ripen they will have less flavor. For making things like jams and jellies you can harvest a mix of ripe berries and less ripe berries that have more pectin but less overall flavor.
Allow your berries to ripen on the bush or vine. This is very important as unlike some other fruits and vegetables your berries will not ripen once you remove them from the vines.
Harvest your berries in the morning
In the early morning, your berries are cool, juicy, and flavorful. As the day moves on and the heat rolls in your berries’ flavor and quality will change.
This simple trick helps to improve the flavor of your berries and makes it easier for you to stay cool on a hot summer day. On that note allow your berries to dry off any morning dew before picking.
If you need to pick them before they dry you should dry them before storing them to help keep them fresher longer.
Here are some more top tips for growing berries in your home garden: