Did you know that berries act as a cleaning device for your brain? They kick parts of your brain into gear that when working, picks out all of the issues in your brain that could potentially lead to memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease.
Then they recycle these parts so they are no longer harmful to your body. (source) You’ll find that in general, berries are great for your brain in a lot of different ways.
And they are also good for the rest of your body too.
So why would you not want your very own berry patch so you could regularly tap into these benefits? If you think you’d might like to, then this post is for you.
With out further delay, let’s dive into all you need to know to begin your very own berry patch.
The Benefits of Eating Berries
There are many reasons to want a berry patch. Berries make great desserts, jams, and jellies. But they also pack a ton of health benefits.
Here are a few of those benefits:
1. They Have Phytochemicals
Phytochemicals are little nutrients in berries that fight cell damage. If you aren’t familiar, cell damage is one of the things that leads to cancer. Our cells become damage and then mutate which is where the issue begins.
So when you eat berries, phytochemicals are released into our bodies. From there, they begin their ‘nursing duties’ by repairing cells that have damage to them.
2. Provide Exercise for Your Brain
I’ve already discussed in the opening that berries are very good for your brain. They release little scrubbies into your brain that basically clean house.
So by doing this, it gets all of the clouded junk out of your head. This means that your mind can be more clear, active, and sharp.
3. Good for Maintaining Sugar
I have diabetes in my family. It is a scary disease that has so many horrible side effects if not managed correctly.
But berries can actually help you to manage your sugar. If you are a diabetic then talk to your doctor to find out what amount of berries is okay to eat. However, they are actually good for stabilizing sugar because of the dose of fiber they give you along with sugar.
4. Good for Your Heart and Weight Control
I think most of us care about maintain a healthy heart and a healthy weight. If we do these things we are taking good care of our bodies.
Which in return, means that we feel better. So eat more berries and nourish your body with your food. Hopefully your body and heart will feel great after doing so.
5. They Lower Blood Pressure and Help Fight Cancer
If you have or have ever had high blood pressure, then you know it is no joke. It makes you feel terrible. I had it while I was pregnant and that was enough for me to know that I don’t want it ever again.
And sadly, I’m sure most of us have known someone that has had and battled cancer. It is scary, heart wrenching, and hard on your body. Well, there are no guarantees that we won’t end up with either of these diseases, but berries do help in the fight against it. So eat more berries to nourish your body.
6. Certain Berries are High in Antioxidants and Help Battle UTIs
If you’ve ever had a UTI then you know how little fun they are. But the doctor usually says to drink cranberry juice. That is because certain berries have a way of battling UTIs.
As well as certain berries are very high in antioxidants. This helps naturally detox your body. Which means you are keeping your body free of toxins that make you sick by simply eating delicious berries on a regular basis.
7. Berries Help You Recover from Strenuous Activity
If you’ve ever had to do a large project that required a lot of physical labor, or if you’ve ever done a little too much when exercising, then you probably know what it feels like to have sore muscles.
But did you ever think of eating berries during those times? Well, you should the next time because they have the ability to help heal muscle damage after such strenuous activity.
These are just a few of the reasons you should consider growing berries on your property. It is basically your own personal dessert patch that doubles as a medicine patch too.
Best Berries to Plant in Your Patch
You can grow lots of different berries in your berry patch. Some will require a little more care than others, but the benefits are worth it in my opinion.
Here are a few ideas of what to grow:
I use to think that I couldn’t grow cranberries in my backyard because all I’d ever seen was flooded fields with cranberries in them.
So I assumed that I wasn’t set-up for that. Then I learned that cranberries require a little extra work but can be easily grown in the backyard. They are great for making your own juices and cranberry sauces. I love cranberries so they are worth the extra work to me.
I love strawberries. They are great by themselves, in a pie, on yogurt, or even on a bowl of ice cream. Yet, they are also pretty easy to grow as well. They can grow in the ground or in containers. I’ve actually done both and have been pleased with both results.
However, be aware that it usually takes a couple of years to get a great harvest from your strawberries. But to me, they were definitely worth the wait. Even on the years that they didn’t produce an abundance, I still got enough for a quick snack while gardening.
Blueberries are a tasty little bush that produce little blue berries. These berries make a great pie, a great little snack by themselves, and they also go great with homemade yogurt.
So if you’d like to have this antioxidant packed fruit in your backyard, then you’ll need a few bushes to plant. Plus, you’ll also want to get some bird netting to go over them because the birds love these berries too.
Do you live in a colder area? If so, then this could be your berry bush. Lingonberries actually have a hard time surviving the summer in warmer climates.
But if you live in a colder climate, they use the snow as insulation and thrive in those temperatures. This fruit is also be named the ‘new super fruit.’ So if you want a healthy and cold hardy berry bush this one is probably it.
Raspberries are beautiful little reddish berries. They taste a little tart but are great when used in dessert and other dishes.
Also, they grow in bush form which means that once you plant them and get the roots developed they seem to do hold their own. That is great news for most any gardener.
I love blackberry pie and cobbler. Needless to say, I have a ton of blackberry bushes growing in my berry patch.
But they also are a plant that produces heavily while not requiring a ton of extra work. So if you’d like to have fresh blackberries, then plant a few bushes and watch them take off.
I plan on planting currants in my berry patch this year. I’ve heard such good things about red currant jam that I’d like to have my own in my yard.
So if you like the idea of having a berry that can make a yummy jam right out of your backdoor, then you’ll want to consider these berries for your berry patch.
Gooseberries are another berry I’m planning on adding to my berry patch this year. The reason is because they too make a wonderful pie and jam.
And if you haven’t noticed I love having berries for dessert purposes. That way I can grow some stevia and use it in the place of sugar. Then I can get away with having dessert and not having to feel so bad about it.
How to Plant and Grow Your Berry Patch
1. Pick your Berry Bushes
You’ll want to begin by deciding which type of berry bush you want for your berry patch. I grow a variety of berries. I have strawberries on one end.
Then I have raspberry bushes, blackberry bushes, and blueberry bushes planted the length of my berry patch.
So you’ll need to decide which varieties you want to plant. Then you’ll want to plan your layout.
2. Plan Your Layout
Some berry bushes do better when planted with other like bushes. For instance, blueberries will not produce well if you don’t plant a variety of blueberry bushes around it.
The reason is that they are self-sterile. So if you plan on getting many blueberries, then plant your blueberries together but choose different varieties of that plant.
You’ll need to do research depending upon the variety of berries you want to plant. This will let you know if your layout is the most effective for the types of berries you planted.
3. Plant Your Bushes
Planting strawberry plants is pretty simple. You decide if you want them in the ground or in a container. You plant them in a good quality compost and cover the roots. Then water them.
However, planting your berry bushes is a little different. Depending upon the variety of bush you plant, will depend greatly upon the amount of work you must put into the soil.
For instance, some berry bushes are fine with a more neutral soil. While others (like blueberries) prefer a highly acidic soil.
So do your research as to what type of soil each berry prefers. If they prefer neutral soil, then dig a deep hole that the bush can easily sit down in.
Then place the bush in the hole, fertilize with a layer of compost, and then add dirt. Next, you’ll need to water heavily.
But if your bushes require a more acidic soil, you’ll need to dig the hole, place the bush in the hole, and fill it with pine chips for the acid content.
Finally, you’ll place dirt in the hole and water heavily.
So be sure to read all instructions on the plant and do a little in-depth research so you’ll know the soil requirements for your particular berry.
4. Weed and Fertilize
Your first spring in the berry patch is a very important time. Berries will produce more and more as the years go on.
So that first spring you’ll want to make sure that you fertilize around the plants to give them a little boost. While also being sure to keep the weeds away from your bushes.
Actually, what we have done is used mulch around the base of each plant. That way it keeps the weeds down and also helps the plants to retain necessary moisture.
Then we’ll occasionally fertilize at the beginning of the grow season.
5. Keep an Eye Out for Pests and Problems
When you have a berry patch your greatest threat is usually the birds and deer. It looks like a tasty buffet for them.
So keeping poultry or deer netting over your berry bushes is probably a good idea. That way you won’t be fighting nature for your harvest.
However, keep an eye on your berry plants. Depending upon which type of berry plant you planted, you might come across some disease. I have never actually experienced this within my own plants.
But if you begin to see discolored berries or issues with the base of the plant, do your research. That way you’ll catch it early on and know how to combat it.
Remember, once you lose a plant to disease, it is usually best to remove that plant from the patch and do not compost it so the disease will not spread to your other plants.
5 Recipes to Use Your Berries
1. No Bake Strawberry and Cream Pie
This pie looks absolutely delicious! If you are growing strawberries, then you’ll definitely want to consider putting a few of them to good use making this appetizing dessert.
Plus, it is a no bake pie. So you don’t have to worry about firing up your oven on a hot summer day. Instead, you can have a tasty treat without breaking a sweat.
2. Red Currant Cake
I had heard of red currant jam, but never red currant cake. After seeing this delicious treat I really want to grow them in my berry patch next year.
So if you’d like to have a fruit on hand that can be used in multiple tasty ways, then you need to consider red currants and this delicious recipe.
3. Old Fashioned Gooseberry Pie
I already mentioned that I’d like to grow gooseberries in my berry patch next year. This pie is the reason.
See, I am a pie girl. I love baking pies almost more than I like eating them. So if you would like to make this delicious old fashioned treat, then be sure to grow those gooseberries in your berry patch!
4. Blueberry Turnovers
I love turnovers. They are delicious, sweet, and still pack a little of the tartness of berries. Anything with berries and icing, I know I can enjoy.
So if you love turnovers too, then you’ll want to check out this recipe. It is a great way to utilize that blueberry harvest from your patch.
5. Vanilla Blackberry Swirl Ice Cream
My family loves fresh ice cream, and I love making it for them. So when I saw that this ice cream was a unique way of creating fresh ice cream for them from my berry patch, I was interested.
Plus, this ice cream looks delicious. So if you’d like to utilize your berry harvest in a sweet and creamy way, then check out this ice cream recipe.
Well, that is all I have for you today. I hope this information has motivated you to start your own berry patch.
As mentioned, each berry has a little different need. But with a little in-depth research once you’ve decided which berries you are going to plant, you should do just fine.
But I want to know which berries are your favorite to grow and why? From those that already have a berry patch, which berries do you grow? Care to share any growing secrets with our community? And what recipes do you use to utilize your berry harvest?