Blueberry is a deciduous shrub that thrives in acidic soil of pH 4-5.2, resists temperatures down to -25°C, and develops bell-shaped flowers in May, from which, depending on the variety, round berries 5-10 millimeters wide grow from June to September.
Yield: 4.5 – 6.8 kg / plant from 4th year after planting
Chill hours: 800 – 1000 Chill hours (temperature +7°C and lower)
Minimum temperature: -25°C
Harvesting period: 1st June – 1st July in Serbia
Spacing: in row 0.8 – 1.0 m; between rows 2.5 – 3.0 m
The fruits are formed on long stems in clusters, which enables mechanical harvesting. For collecting all of Duke's fruits, it's necessary to harvest it twice in a period of 7 to 10 days. When it reaches full yield it can be very fruitful, from 4.5 to 6.8 kilograms per plant. Once picked, fruits maintain their quality better than most other varieties. Harsh winters don't bother Duke - it's resistant to frosts and can endure temperatures down to -25°C. Plants need to be pruned as to prevent branches full of fruits from touching the ground.
Yield: 3.5 – 7.0 kg / plant from 4th year after planting
Chill hours: 1000+ Chill hours (temperature +7°C and lower)
Minimum temperature: -26°C
Harvesting period: 20th June – 20th July in Serbia
Spacing: in row 1.2 – 1.5 m; between rows 2.7 – 3.0 m
Yield: 4.5 – 9.0 kg / plant from 4th year after planting
Chill hours: 800 – 1000 chill hours (temperature +7°C and lower)
Minimum temperature: -25°C
Harvesting period: 15th June – 15th July in Serbia
Spacing: in row 1.2 – 1.5 m; between rows 2.5 – 3.0 m
Yield: 3.5 – 6.0 kg / plant from 4th year after planting
Chill hours: 800 – 1000 chill hours (temperature +7°C and lower)
Minimum temperature: -25°C
Harvesting period: 28th May – 18th June in Serbia at min 100 meters above sea level
Spacing: in row 0.9 – 1.2 m; between rows 2.5 – 3.0 m
Lonicera caerulea var. kamtschatica
Oblong honeyberries, 1.2-2.5 centimeters long, sweet-tart, and quite delicate, are best to consume fresh after harvests in May. They develop from a flower that tolerates temperatures down to -1°C, on a deciduous bush that can live up to 25 years.
Yield: 3.0 – 5.0 kg / plant from 4th year after planting
Soil pH: pH 4.5 – 6.0
Minimum temperature: -47°C
Harvesting period: May
Spacing: in row 1.0 – 1.5 m; between rows 2.7 – 3.0 m
Planting - It's recommended to plant two- or three-year-old seedlings with three to four well developed offshoots and healthy root systems late in the autumn or early spring. Soil preparation includes all earth fragmentation operations before forming the banks. Cultivation is similar to that of blueberries - banks are spaced 2.7 - 3 meters, and bushes' distances are 1 - 1.5 meters. Honeyberry isn't self-pollinating, so at least two different varieties have to be planted together, or even better three to four varieties that bloom at the same time.
On the plantation, one hectare is covered by 2000 to 3000 seedlings, and in gardens it can be grown as a hedgerow. Regardless of growing type, fertilization is reduced in comparison to all the other bushy fruits in order to avoid root damage and plant withering.
Growing - It's necessary to install irrigation system to provide good growth and developing. The biggest problem in first years are weeds that need to be removed mechanically. After a while, grass can be grown and mowed between the rows. During the summers high temperatures and dry air can cause leaves to dry and fall, but the plant recovers by the end of winter. It blooms at the end of April, beginning of May, though in the case of cold summers and warm autumns it can bloom even in the autumn and have a few ripe fruits before the winter starts. Honeyberry flower isn't sensitive to weak frosts - it opens even at 0°C, and as such, it can tolerate tempratures down to -10°C. The honeyberry bush is resistant to diseases and pests so organic production can be easily applied. With regular pruning after fruiting, it can live 20 to 30 years. Summer pruning trims the primocanes and thins the bush to get more light and air and to facilitate harvesting. The plants are fertilized through the irrigation system since higher amounts of fertilizers can damage them.
Most of this information comes from Poland where honeyberry production is presently expanding.
Harvesting and storage - Honeyberry fruit is oblong, blue-purple with a mass of 1 to 2 grams. It's characterized by its vivid sweet-sour taste, very high content of vitamin A, C, and E, calcium, potassium, and antioxidants. Fruits are very soft and can't be stored for too long, but they're ideal for jams, drinks and as an addition to ice creams and yogurts. Dehydration yields a special delicacy and is a good method of preservation.
Dark blue healthy chokeberries don’t spoil on the branch, even if left until the next bloom in May, when white and light pink flowers grouped in the inflorescence develop. The deciduous bush, on which dark-green leaves turn red in autumn, grows even on rocky terrain.
Yield: 5.0 – 10.0 kg / plant from 4th year after planting
Soil pH: pH 5.5 – 6.0
Minimum temperature: -30°C
Harvesting period: August
Spacing: in row 1.5 – 2.0 m; between rows 3.0 – 4.0 m
It's grown as a fruit or decorative plant on all types of soil and at all altitudes. Planting is done in the autumn, during the winter, and in the early spring, under the condition that the soil isn't frozen and the vegetative period hasn't started yet. Plants from containers can be planted during the vegetative period in water-filled holes after which another round of watering is necessary to promote plant growth.
Plot preparation includes basic soil work such as plowing to a depth of around 30 centimeters, and tilling to level and fragment the top layer. Transplanting is best done soon after taking the seedlings from the nursery. Before planting, the plot has to be fertilized with NPK 15:15:15 fertilizers, 500-600 kg/ha or 50-60 grams per hole, after which the fertilizer is mixed with soil to prevent direct contact with the roots so that the possible toxic impact of the strong fertilizers and withering of the plant is avoided. If manure is used, 40-50 t/ha, the amount of NPK fertilizers has to be halved.
During the vegetative period a plantation needs around 500 kg/ha of NPK 8:16:24 or similar a year. Since chokeberry is a slow-growing plant, fertilizers can be applied in rows where planting will take place.
Due to its resistance to diseases and pests, Chokeberry doesn't need protection, making it ideal for organic and bio-ecological cultivation. It also doesn't absorb heavy metals and toxic gasses, and it can grow on ash covered soils, tailings, landfills and terrains with standing water, though the best results are expected on naturally fertile and sunny plots.
Planting and maintenance - Yield and fruit quality mostly depend on seedling quality, fertilization, irrigation, and regular weed control. The best seedlings come from tissue culture - clones have excellently developed and entirely uniform root systems that contribute to fast growth and progression.
On larger plantations chokeberry is planted without supports in rows spaced at 3 meters. Rows, ideally oriented North-South, are marked with rope, then every 1.5 meters is tagged with sticks driven into the planting places. If the soil is well fragmented and moist, planting goes fairly fast. Holes around 20 centimeters deep and 30 centimeters in diameter can be dug with a hoe. After planting is done, soil that has been put over the roots needs to be compressed by stepping on it carefully so that the side branches growing from the root neck - offshoots that form the bush, don't get damaged. There can be up to 30 of them, and they may reach up to 2.5 meters in height and 3 meters in diameter. Maximum development and full yield is achieved only in the 10th year, when each plant can produce 5-10 kilograms of fruit. During that period and if the soil is fertile, chokeberry can develop a root system with fibers over 700 meters long, where 90% of them are thinner than 1 millimeter. Roots spread in a diameter matching that of the plant's aboveground portion, at a 1.5 meter depth, which helps the plant absorb large quantities of water and nutrients. Optimal soil moisture for high yields is around 75% of field water capacity - 75% of pores are supposed to be filled with water, the rest with air.
Plantation care includes regular weed control and irrigation. Aisles can be used for vegetable growing until the chokeberry plants mature. For organic growing, the aisles could be populated with white clover that prevents weed growth.
Harvesting - Chokeberry is a slow grower. It starts bearing fruits in second or third year of life, depending on the plant's vigor, and then it fruits each year. Good care speeds up otherwise slow growth and enables fruiting even in the second year, that is, right after planting, while irrigation assures high yield and quality. Chokeberry flowers in April, and fruiting that starts in August lasts around a month. Ripe berries don't rot or get wormy, and most wither on the plant over the whole autumn and winter if the summer was mildly hot. It happens that when leafing begins in the spring, the branches still have dry, berries from the previous year.
Nutritional and medicinal properties - Chokeberry fruits are rich with nutritional and medicinal elements. They contain 25-30% of dry matter, mostly saccharides, 6.2-10.8% sugars, 3.0-3.1% cellulose,0.63-0.75% pectin, 0.7-1.3% organic acids, and 600-2300mg% anthocyanin. They are a true treasure-house of macro and micro elements such as iron, calcium, copper, iodine, boron, molybdenum, manganese, potassium and cobalt, then vitamins C, P, PP, B6, E, and pro-vitamin A. Though the most important element in ripe black chokeberry is anthocyanin. 100 grams of fresh fruits contains up to 1480 milligrams of this matter (second in anthocanin content is black raspberry with around 320 milligrams, then black currant with 250 milligrams, and blackberry with 205 milligrams per 100 grams of fresh fruit) and 664 milligrams of proanthocyanidin in and right beneath the skin, which the plant uses to protect its flesh and seeds from harmful effects of UV radiation. Berries' color and sheen attract birds and other animals that in a natural environment help spread the seeds. All the listed elements, including the phytoncides - compounds that chokeberry produces to protect itself from insects, fungi, bacteria, and viruses - make chokeberry both food and medicine that strengthens the immune system, slows down aging, has antiseptic effects, and along with antioxidants (it contains 16100 ORAC units)lowers the risk of and potentially helps to treat many chronic illnesses such as colon cancer, inactive liver, cardiovascular diseases, chronic inflammations, gastrointestinal problems, uveitis, and urinary tract diseases.
In both diets and medicinally, chokeberry is usually consumed as cold pressed fruit juice, pasteurized at 85-95°C (92°C) for 15 minutes which makes it usable for 2 years. One kilogram of fresh, undamaged fruits, yields 500-600 milliliters of dense, dark, almost black juice that can be diluted with water, tea or other fruit juices (apple or quince). 100 milliliters of juice contain at minimum 150 milligrams of vitamin P (bioflavonoid), and at most 63 kCal of energy. Juice is to be used carefully, like the other medicines, three times a day, each time 50 milliliters, while for satisfying daily vitamin P intake, 30 fresh berries a day is enough. They can be stored for 15-20 days in supermarkets in low crates or plastic containers. They can be kept in cold storage at a temperature of +2°C in a shallow layer, like apples.
Chokeberries can be made into a jam, slatko, jelly, fruit yogurt, compote, juice cocktails with apples, oranges and other fruits, wine, and rakija.
Rubus fruticosus L.
The deep blue, almost black fruits grow on a bush that can, even with regular pruning, reach up to 3 meters in height, ideally on wire supports at heights of 0.9 and 1.6 meters stretched between 2.5-meter poles.
Yield: ~3.5 kg / plant from 4th year after planting
Soil pH: pH 6.0 – 6.5
Minimum temperaturea: -25°C under the snow cover
Harvesting period: August – September
Spacing: in row 0.6 – 1.2 m; between rows ~2.5 m
The best results are to be expected on well-drained, sandy loam soils with pH 6.0-6.5, whereas planting in soil with poor drainage is avoided due to blackberry roots being intolerant to excessive moisture in the soil. The plant itself minds warm winds which lower air humidity and contribute to fruit and leaf sunburns.
Planting - In the beginning of October the autumn fertilization is done with 800-1000 kilograms per hectare of complex mineral fertilizers of NPK proportion 10:12:26 or 15:15:15, after which the soil is plowed to a standard depth, fragmented and prepared for planting.
Optimal spacing between plants in a row and between the rows depends on chosen blackberry type and variety, growing method and mechanization. For the tractor to smoothly drive through the plantation it's recommended to space the rows around 2.5 meters, and between Loch Ness plants in the row 0.6-1.2 meters. Easier blackberry planting, without raised beds, or banks, entails planting straight into the soil, where it's necessary only to dig a hole large enough for proper root nesting, plant the seedling at the same depth as it was in the pot, cover it with moist soil, and lightly press it down by stepping on it. If fertilization wasn't applied after preparation of the site, then the compressed soil is covered with 3-4 kilograms of fermented manure and topped with a thin layer of soil, again compacted with the foot, and watered with 2-3 liters of water.
Growing - Blackberry is fertilized at the beginning of March with 400-500 kilograms per hectare of KAN. If the soil isn't too moist, the uppermost layer has to be crushed a few times until the end of August when the weeds are left to grow. In case of a drought, blackberries require constant watering so that the fruits don't get too small and lose their commercial value.
For optimal development and growth, blackberry needs support that mostly includes two wires stretched between the 2.5-meter-high poles, at heights of 0.8 and 2 meters.
In the first year after planting, weed control is done by tilling and, if necessary, spraying herbicides. In later years areas between the rows can be mowed and herbicides can be used in the plants' vicinity.
Pruning is very important for blackberries. Regardless of the time of planting (autumn or spring), pruning after planting is carried out only in the early spring before the vegetative period starts. Offshoots are trimmed to a height of 20-30 centimeters above the ground - the thicker the cane, the higher the trimming. During the early vegetative period, 2-4 offshoots will develop from the root buds, so that by the mid summer there will be canes of different ages. For proper bush development it's recommended to prune the previous year's canes to their base in the middle of August, so that new offshoots have more room and light for growing.
During late winter or early spring, winter pruning takes place when the two-year-old canes are trimmed to the ground, and the last summer offshoots are pruned to 2-2.2 meter height. Side branches on them are shortened to 30-40 centimeters which makes harvesting easier and fruits larger.
Harvesting and storage - Loch Ness fruits ripen simultaneously, which means that it's necessary to harvest it many times for the highest possible yield, on alternate days or more frequently if the temperatures are too high. Harvesting is best in the morning while it's still dewy and before it becomes very hot.
Backberries are stored in air-conditioned cold storage at -1°C to 0°C with 90-95% humidity and weak ventilation to prevent dehydration of the fruits.
Prunus cerasus L.
The abundant yields of this sour cherry tree, which can live for 30 years, weigh down the branches, helping in the manual harvest of large, delicious, juicy fruits. Short stems, left attached to the fruits when picked, protect them from spoiling and extend their freshness.
KLON IVO 45
Yield: up to 16.0 kg / plant from 2nd year
Life span: 25 – 30 years
Minimum temperature: -35°C
Harvesting period: beginning of June
Spacing: in row 2.0 m; between rows 3.0 – 3.5 m
It's resistant to the late spring frosts - flowers don't freeze, and the fruits contain 14.4% dry matter (Oblačinka has 13.8%). The proportion of flesh to pit is 91.2% to 8.8% (Oblačinka is 90% to 10%).
Increased fruitfulness is based on self-pollination, which also distinguishes it from many Marela varieties that fruit well only with the help of specific pollinators. First year Klon Ivo 45 lives in the nursery in 1.5-liter pots with substrate, and then they are transplanted in any season, even in summer if the site is cultivated and fertilized. For an easy settle-in and stress-free growth, plants taken from pots are placed in holes filled with mud and covered with soil. The root doesn't produce a lot of offshoots, which simplifies cultivation.
Klon Ivo 45 is planted with spacing of 3-3.5 meters between the rows and 2 meters in the row, like a hedgerow, and the pruned bush yields high output during its whole lifespan of 25-30 years.
Vaccinium macrocarpon L.
Very sour cranberries, 9-14 millimeters wide and packed with medicinal ingredients, grow on a deciduous bush that withstands temperatures down to -40°C. It likes dry and sunny terrain with soil at pH 4-5.5.
Yield: 0.5 – 1.3 kg / plant from 4th year after planting
Soil pH: pH 4.0 – 5.5
Minimum temperature: -40°C
Harvesting period: 15th August – 30th September
Spacing: in row 1.0 – 1.5 m; between rows 2.5 – 3.0 m
Conditions - To enable proper growth and development, soil has to be well-drained and loose with pH between 4.2 and 5.2. In the places where pH is higher than 5.2, holes should be filled with acidic substrate. Due to the shallow root system, frequent watering is necessary. Maintaining low soil pH is possible by fertilizing the plants with ammonium sulfate. Cranberry seedlings are planted in holes dug 20-30 centimeters deep and filled with fertilizers. Spacing between the rows is 2.5 meters and between the plants 1-1.5 meters. One hectare can be covered with 1666 to 4000 seedlings. Since American cranberry forms stolons and is horizontally spread on the ground, it's desirable to implement barriers to prevent stolon spreading and to leave enough space for machines and staff.
Growing - During the first year it's necessary to keep the soil moist and not to allow roots to become dry. Weeds are controlled by sub-soiling, weeding, and mulching. After planting, the ground should be covered with a thin layer of sand so that the stolons can easily be revived. Revived stolon, so-called živići, will form the stems that will flower and fruit. To make fast growth of the young first-year offshoots possible, nitrogen fertilizers are used. In the second and third years offshoots should grow vertically, so nitrogen fertilizers will stop being used and complex fertilizers with a higher percentage of phosphorus and potassium will be included. To keep cranberry in a good state, long offshoots need to be pruned, but not the fruiting stems. Within 2-3 years there's no need to hoe since cranberry totally covers the surface.
Pests and diseases - The biggest threat comes from fungi Phytophtora causing root rot. Bright red stains on the leaves are the sign of Red leaf spot disease, and the fruits can be attacked by a fruit worm.
Harvesting and storage - Fruits are harvested before first autumn frosts. Completely ripe dark red cranberry fruits with brown seeds can keep their freshness longer than other berries, and in airtight containers even longer than two months in the refrigerator.
Medicinal properties - Cranberry is a source of many nutritional, medicinal and protective components used even in prescription drugs. It is a rich source of flavonoids (anthocyanin), flavonols, and proanthocyanidin. It also contains high levels of vitamin C, provitamin A (as beta-carotene), vitamin B (B1, B2, B3), calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, arbutin, and fibers. Fruits of this healthy plant have strong antioxidant, and probably anticarcinogenic effects.
Scientific research has shown that cranberry juice is an efficient medicine against bacteria Escherichia coli and prevents by 20% the risk of its reemerging. It's also good against Helicobacter bacteria pylory and the fungus Candida.
Cranberry tea is used in preventing and treating bacterial infections of the urinary tract. It's also an efficient laxative, it normalizes the activity of digestive tract, prevents and treats arthritis, rheumatism, diabetes, diarrhea, skin and eye infections, liver problems, cough, cold, kidney stones, prostate and urinary tract cancer, cardiovascular system problems, stress, and more. All in all, cranberry is a great natural antibiotic.
Rubus idaeus L.
On loose, permeable, and mildly acidic soil of pH 6, gentle and tasty raspberry is easily planted, expecting standard care such as regular watering during summers, pruning in May, weed removal and nutrient supply.
Yield: 2.0 – 2.5 kg / per plant
Soil pH: pH 5.5 – 6.5
Minimum temperature: -25°C
Harvesting period: from the end of July
Spacing: in row 0.3 – 0.4 m; between rows ~3.0 m
Polka prefers fertile, loose, permeable, clean, level soil. It has to be slightly acidic (optimal pH is 5.5-6.5) with the minimum 3% of humus, 4 milligrams each of phosphorus and magnesium, and 12-18 milligrams of potassium per 100 grams of dry soil. As a big fan of water, growing Polka is unimaginable without irrigation.
It's planted in autumn or spring, though autumn planting is recommended, where settling in has an almost 100% success rate. Good cover crops are corn, small grains, and legumes, while tomato, potato, pepper, and strawberry are avoided due to possible transmission of disease caused by the fungus Verticillium. Manure is a must even if there is enough humus - 50 tones are used per hectare and then deeply plowed. Before planting the soil has to be crushed and leveled to make planting less difficult and to enable easier trimming of canes to uniform height.
Prepared seedlings are planted one centimeter deeper than in the nursery. Spacing between rows is 3 meters, in the row 0.5 meters. 15-centimeter-deep holes are dug with a spade. Roots are properly distributed and covered with soil that is then packed occasionally. Finally, seedlings are pruned and the soil leveled again.
Young offshoots begin developing with the start of the vegetative period. The most important and primary work is soil cultivation. Aisles are cultivated and areas in the rows hoed whenever weeds show up. Herbicides are used only in the 2nd and 3rd years, and drip irrigation provides enough water.
Flowers and fruits - Regardless of time of planting, autumn or spring, Polka fruits in its first year, and the yield covers the expense of seedlings and man power. The first flowers emerge from the top of the plant when the offshoot reaches its greatest height of around 150 centimeters, and flowering lasts until late autumn. A full yield is attained in the second year. Polka fruits ripen at the end of July or begging of August, they are harvested every second or third day, and simultaneously sorted and packed in special containers, where the color, taste and aroma are retained for a few days. After the first frost, the canes dry out, the harvest stops, and they're pruned after two weeks during which they relax. Soil analysis is done again and only the nutrients that are missing are added. If Polka was planted on a compatible soil and well cared for, the yield will be around 12 tones per hectare.
Fruits are conical, pink-reddish, delicious when fresh, but good for processing as well.
Minimum protection - One offshoot of Polka in the first vegetative period provides 8 new plants. Each year that number is doubled, but it's optimal to have 12 plants per running meter - that's why the canes from which at least 70% of berries are picked are thinned during the harvesting period. In resistance to diseases and pests Polka is also different from other varieties, though protection requirements are minimized because trimming offshoots reduces opportunities for diseases and pests to appear, such that spraying three times, mostly as prevention, is enough. The first spraying should be when the offshoots are around 30 centimeters, second at 90 centimeters, and third at the beginning of flowering. After the canes are trimmed, there's no risk from freezing. Polka's fruitfulness starts dropping after 15 years, at which time it's removed to give way to new crops.