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Considerations for Growing Berries & Figs


Blueberries, blackberries, figs, oh my! Spring (and fall) is a beautiful time of year to plant perennial fruits. Berries and figs are two fruit types that grow especially well in our southeastern climate. Whereas stone fruits can sometimes be finicky with fungus, berry bushes and fig trees are hardy, strong producers! You can expect *some* fruit from these plants the year you transplant them with more robust harvest quantities the next and subsequent years. Berries and figs are great additions to a backyard food growing space. Plant these in the ground, when possible... but y'all, I wouldn't be The Patio Farmer without telling you that these CAN be grown in pots. Big pots. But nonetheless, pots. I grow all my fruit trees in 20-gallon grow bags. They are happy and productive little things too! Let's explore the different considerations for each kind of fruit tree / bush / plant to help guide you in your planning for adding these to your space.

Blueberries: Such joy and happiness that comes from having sweet berries grown in your backyard, patio, deck, porch, flower beds... where have you! Here are some quick facts.

  • Blueberries love an acidic soil so it is recommended to add a specific plant food to ensure the right pH. Compost Complete for Blueberries (Certified Organic, plant-based plant food mixed by my friends at Windcrest Organics) will get your soil in tip top shape. And it's Certified Organic and plant based. Feed your blueberries every spring and fall to ensure proper soil acidity.

  • Blueberries are NOT self-pollinating and require a friend to produce fruit.

  • Space blueberries every 6 feet to ensure proper ventilation and allow the plants to soak up as much sun as they can. It's hard work growing berries!

  • There are "early", "mid" and "late" blueberry varieties. These classifications refer to the time during the season (May - July) your plants will produce. Planting across these varieties will ensure you have an extended harvest window!

Fig Trees: There is nothing like a sweet, juicy fig on a hot, late summer day. These can easily become a centerpiece of your summer growing space! Here are some quick facts.

  • Depending on the variety, fig trees can grow to be 7 - 20 feet tall.

  • Fig trees typically grow as tall as they do wide. Keep maturing root systems in mind when you plant and keep away from any poured slabs!

  • Fig trees are also self-pollinating and grow well in our Carolina soils.

Raspberries & Blackberries: Did you know these are considered "cane" fruit? Foliage and berries grow from long, woody stems, or canes, from the center of the plant. Cool! Here are some quick facts.

  • Raspberries and blackberries are "self-pollinating" meaning you only *need* one plant to yield fruit. Obviously, the more plants you have, the more berries you will have, so there's that to keep in mind.

  • These berries need approximately 6 feet of space between one another

  • These berries grow famously in our Carolina clay!

  • Heard of brambles? They are wild cousins. Consider planting thornless varieties when possible, for your sake!

  • These berries can benefit from a long, horizontal trellising system (like a fence or cattle panel or t-post / galvanized wire set up).

Strawberries: Did you know these are perennial plants? Yep! Here are some quick facts.

  • Strawberries are great for small, and large, spaces. Plant strawberry seedlings 8 - 12 inches apart in well-draining, fertile soil.

  • Strawberries typically produce fruit May - June.

  • Plants create "runners" when they are mature as a way of propagation. You can use these to grow more plants or trim the up and add to the compost.

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