Fruit growing in Texas - What about berries?by City Girl Gardener on 03/26/11
The health industry has really pushed berries as the remedy for many illnesses such as memory loss. And therefore, the garden nurseries are pushing berries! But, what they don’t tell us is; when to plant, where to plant, how to feed, etc. So I have reprint below some information from the Texas Agriculture Department on growing fruit in Texas. How ever, there is an Ag department for every area of the country, just google for how to plant fruit in your state. And read, read, read, so that you too are informed and wise about how you spend your gardening dollars.
Blackberries are among the easiest of all small fruit crops to grow in Texas. They produce well on a wide variety of soils as long as drainage is good. Soils with a pH near or above 8.0 can cause serious problems with iron chlorosis. The yellowing and poor growth resulting from iron chlorosis is difficult to correct economically.
Plantings of Brazos blackberries have produced up to 1 gallon of berries per foot of row when properly managed. Realistically, plan for about 1 to 2 quarts per foot of row and plant accordingly.
Set either root cuttings or young plants 2 to 3 feet apart in a row. If you plant more than one row, space the rows 10 to 12 feet apart. The most productive varieties are erect and do not require a trellis or support.
Frequent watering is beneficial, especially to young plants. Water first-year plantings at least weekly through harvest. After harvest, some moisture stress is not harmful to a healthy planting.
Blackberries can usually be grown without an extensive pesticide program. Disease problems can be severe in portions of East and Southeast Texas. Plant blackberries for away from wild blackberries to minimize disease problems.
Proper soil, water and care are essential for successful blueberry growing. Blueberries require acid, sandy soils with a pH of 4.5 to 5.5. These soils occur extensively in East and Southeast Texas and in localized pockets in North, Central and South Texas. Blueberries also require good-quality water with low sodium and bicarbonates.
Blueberries thrive best in soils enriched with composted organic matter. Ideally, mix about 1/2 bushel of peat moss with the topsoil in the planting hole of each plant. If you are attempting to grow blueberries in soils with insufficient acidity, dig a hole at least 36 inches in diameter and 18 inches deep and mix at least 50 percent composted organic matter with the top soil. Blueberries thrive in 100 percent peat moss, so there is no limit to the amount you can use.
Calcareous or clay soils are almost impossible to modify sufficiently for blueberries. Blueberry enthusiasts with unsuitable soils should grow plants in tubs using a potting soil high in peat moss.
Plant at least two blueberry varieties to ensure adequate cross-pollination. The listed varieties are all of the rabbiteye type. Other types of blueberries are not well adapted to Texas.
Mulch plants heavily with organic material such as pine bark, sawdust, leaves, grass clippings, wood chips or hay. This aids in moisture conservation and weed control.
Blueberries are sensitive to over-fertilization. Spread fertilizer uniformly over the root area beneath and out from the plant. Use several small applications (1/8 to 1/4 cup per plant) during the spring and summer rather than a single large application. Avoid nitrate forms of nitrogen. Fertilizers formulated for azaleas work well.
While strawberries can be grown for several years, they perform best in Texas when grown as an annual plant. This production system eliminates the need to carry plants through the ravages of summer.
Spring-bearing varieties are the best adapted for most regions of Texas. Ever-bearing strawberry varieties do not fruit well under hot summer conditions.
Fall Planting System. In South Texas, plant annual strawberries from late September to the first week of October. They require a great deal of care; do not allow them to dry out. In this system, set plants in double rows 12 inches apart and 42 inches wide. After harvest the following spring, plants are usually destroyed. In North and West Texas, annual planting is done in late winter or spring. Production is greatest the next spring, 1 full year after planting.
In areas where the soil is saline or contains too much clay, construct a raised bed about 10 inches deep. Fill with loose, pliable, well-drained soil.
Spring Planting System. Set plants 18 inches apart in a single row. Runners set through the summer develop a matted row. The primary crop is harvested in the spring, 1 year after planting.