Growing your own super-fruit

When someone says super-fruit, they usually talk about anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals that are in the fruit and how it relates to our health. In my mind, all fruits have these great properties and my definition of a super-fruit is one that can be grown easily, on the prairies, is easy to maintain and has fruit that can be picked fresh and eaten immediately.

The plants I consider Prairie super-fruits are currants, goji berry, haskaps, raspberries, saskatoons, seaberries and sour cherries. All these plants are available at Bylands. There are a number of different types of currants and so the berries come in different colours and tastes. If you like jellies, jams and pies, currants are a great choice. Goji berries are easy to grow but you need to get used to the taste of the berry.  There is a bitter taste when eaten fresh but that dissipates when dried. Haskaps are the prairie alternative to blueberries. They grow well in the high alkaline prairie soils and the flowers are highly resistant to the early spring frosts. Haskaps produce a consistent amount of fruit each year. I love to eat a fresh raspberry during the heat of the summer. The berries just melt in your mouth.  To optimize your yield you need to water regularly during the flower and berry producing days. Pruning the dead canes out during the dormant season is not that bad if you use long handled pruners that keep you away from the prickles. Saskatoon berries have a unique and delicious taste. This shrub requires very little maintenance and you may need to protect the fabulous tasting berries from the birds. Seaberry (Sea Buckthorn) need a larger space to grow to accommodate the large volume of fruit produced on the wide spreading branches. The tart taste of seaberries takes time to get used to but it is worth the time since seaberries are nutrient packed. Sour cherries shrubs are well suited to the prairies and consistently produce a large amount of berries each year. My favorite product is making juice with these juicy berries.

You need to designate an open space in your yard and plant one or more of these wonderful fruit producing plants. The incredible fresh taste of the berries is something to be experienced.


Happy Gardening!


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Guest post by Rick - Bylands Product Development

I was born and brought up in Manitoba, and this has influenced my outlook and forged my love of the prairies. I now live in the Okanagan Valley and continue to focus on improving plant material suited for the Canadian prairies. The advantage of living and working in a Zone 5 is that I can easily access a wider variety of plant material to breed with a select group of cold hardy material that I brought with me from Manitoba.  I look forward to introducing new plants from Bylands in future years. With my wife Karen, we enjoy the opportunity on weekends to hike the first class hiking trails in the Kelowna area.