Huckleberries, sometimes referred to as a poor man’s blueberries, are famous for their wildness and are the least used for commercial purposes. However, unlike blueberries, they cannot be eaten raw, as they taste sour. Nevertheless, they can be added to your recipe, just like black currants. If you come to know what wonder can the semi-tropical blueberries do to your recipes, you will be surprised. In fact, they are also called wonder berries, as they can do magic with your pies, jams and jellies and even make excellent wine. Although huckleberries seem to be a relative of blueberries, they are actually not. Instead, the plant is a member of the family of potatoes, pepper and tomatoes and even tastes a little like sour tomatoes. However, it looks like nightshades, which are extremely poisonous. So, if you want to grow the plant, make sure to buy the seeds from a reputed nursery only. Huckleberries can produce fruits in one year only and you don’t have to wait for several years, like other berries like strawberries, raspberries, etc. Read on to explore tips on how to grow garden huckleberries.
Growing Garden Huckleberries
- Garden huckleberries can be treated like pepper plants. You need to sow the seeds in March or April, in a tray of moist, good quality seed compost. Cover it with a plastic sheet, to keep the temperature consistent.
- Grow the seedlings like pepper and tomatoes and keep them well watered. You can apply liquid fertilizer on a weekly basis.
- Transport the plant outside only when the frost is no longer there, probably at the same time when you are planting tomatoes. Plant them in vegetable garden, allowing full sun.
- Garden huckleberries don’t require much tending and care. You just need to add mulch, which will keep the weeds away and maintain huckleberries in a good shape.
- Caterpillars and potato beetles are very fond of huckleberry plant and may even destroy it totally. So, you need to watch out for the pests, for at least the first three weeks after their transportation. You can avoid pests by not planting it near other plants of the same family.
- Garden huckleberries can bear fruits within ninety days of being transported outside. Almost two inches of well dug-in compost will prove good for these huckleberries.
- You can water the plant depending on the weather. However, reduce the watering when the fruits are getting colored up, if the weather is not very hot. It will help increase their taste.
- You can harvest huckleberries anytime before the frost. The plants would be filled with little berries around that time. Harvest it when the berries are no longer shiny and are so purple that they look almost black.
- The berries grow in clusters and don’t fall off easily. You can cut the branches and take out the berries from them (like shelling peas). Pack or can them and freeze for use throughout the year. You can make syrups, pies, jams, ice cream sauce and even wine, from this wonder berry.