As a Homesteader, how can you start or expand your Berry patch without breaking the bank? Especially if you have a large family to provide for and would like to preserve some berries for later.
If you are just starting your Berry patch there are some frugal ways to obtain your plants. Family, Friends, Neighbors, check around and see if anyone is growing the berries you are looking for. Definitely look to other homesteaders, they always are ready to help. They may have some starts you can get from them and most likely they will be free or at least very inexpensive. Check out any local greenhouses, nurseries, farmers markets, etc you may get some plants from one of them. If your county has an Extension Office they can be a great resource for you because they know a lot of farmers big and small and can direct you to someone who can help you. Garden Catalogs sometimes will have great package deals if you buy more than one or two plants. So, a little time and research can save you some big bucks.
You may already have a Berry patch but would like to expand so you can produce more berries. Look your Berry patch over and make sure it’s not showing signs of disease. If it’s a healthy patch you can obtain all the FREE plants you could ever want. You may have noticed that your parent plants send out ‘Runners’ or ‘Suckers’. I know we have mowed over a bunch of those in the past and I know others who do the same thing. These plants will give you a nice new Berry Patch at no cost….FREE.
With a shovel you will cut in all around the plant and you will want to dig up as much dirt as you can with the berry plant. You will want to get the new patch prepared before you do this. We use our big tiller and really work up the area nicely and then we add plenty of nutrient rich compost and rake that in. We usually will dig our new holes first and space them 3-4 feet apart and if you have more than one row you will want the rows to be 5 feet apart. Plant you new plants only as deep as they were. Firm them in and give them a good drink of water. We water them everyday ( unless it rains and we will skip that day) for a couple weeks to make sure they have a good chance to live! Once you know they are going to live you can then put up your support wires or fence. We try to be frugal around her so we used some old fencing be had laying around! It works great!
One important item to decide is, how many plants will you need to have for your family? Well, you know you want to enjoy those fresh berries, make a cobbler or two, whip up some jelly or jam, and you’ll want to can or freeze some for later use. We like to have 7-8 plants per person. This usually supplies plenty of berries. You can always keep expanding your patch if you find it’s not enough plants to supply your family.
Hey Homesteaders, what are you going to do with those extra plants that you couldn’t use? Why don’t you pot them up and sell them! I know a few people selling their extra raspberry and blackberry plants for $5 around here. That’s a good way to make a few dollars. Or if you have a friend or neighbor who wants to start their own berry patch you could share with them.
Share a picture of your Berry Patch!! Happy Frugal Gardening!!!