Looking for how to grow strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries in containers such as an Earthbox which is ideal for small or balcony gardens, or in raised beds or regular garden beds?
Growing berries in containers is easy to do, even for beginners, and there are also advantages to growing your berries in containers – easier to move around to be sure they get the optimal amount of sunlight each day, and also easier to protect from predators such as birds and squirrels than if you plant in the ground.
Container-grown berries (in soil mix) will also fruit faster than if they are in the ground.
It is also possible to raise organically-grown berries, though this is more of a challenge as these plants can be prone to pests and problems that are more difficult (but note impossible)to avoid or deal with organically.
Growing Berries Successfully
All berries need good air circulation but not wind, a sunny spot that gets at least six hours of sunlight a day, and well-drained soil – or, in a container, soil-less mix.
If you want to grow berries on a balcony or rooftop garden, you may need a Patio screen for wind protection.
It’s important to keep them weed-free and to not over-water, because soggy roots leads to disease.
All types of berries want to have lots of organic matter – such as compost or composted manure – mixed into their container or bed.
If you choose to use organic matter in a container, it works, but you will want to be sure to mix it well into the bottom half of the container, to avoid odors.
They also need mulch, which helps keep moisture in, keep the roots cool, and prevent the weeds that attract insects.
You can start from seed, but generally you’ll get better results buying healthy young plants, available from nursery garden centers or by ordering online.
How to Grow Blueberries
Blueberries prefer an acidic soil or mix with a pH of 4.5 to 5.2 – you may want to get a soil pH tester and amend your soil with peat moss or garden sulphur.
After planting, top the soil with muscle – pine needles work well.
Keep the foliage dry, remove any fallen fruit, and prune blueberries to allow for good air circulation because this will prevent fungal diseases.
Protect Berry Plants From Birds & Squirrels
If you prefer to enjoy the fruit yourself, rather than attract hungry birds and squirrels, you will need to cover with Bird netting before the berries turn color.
Raspberries prefer cooler climates, though you can grow them in a protected greenhouse or cooler (but sunny) room indoors.
These are plants that need winter cold in order to produce berries the following year, so if you do grow indoors, they may need to winter in a cooler spot, such as a cold room or the garage, or under protective covering on your balcony.
Like other berry plants, they require good air circulation but need protection from harsh mid-day sun and from wind.