Monday, 10 September 2012

Goji Berries

Planting Diary - September 2012
The back fence along the top of the garden seemed like an ideal spot to transplant my Goji Berry (Lycium barbarum)If you’re not familiar with the Goji berry, it is an exotic berry originating in the temperate and subtropical regions in China, Mongolia and in the Himalayas in Tibet. It’s a member of the Solanaceae (nightshade) family of plants, which also includes tomato, potato, eggplant, chilli peppers, capsicum, tobacco, petunias and many others. 

Goji berries like sandy soil, as it well draining, and they dislike “wet feet”, that is waterlogged or constantly wet soil. They will grow to tall thin shrubs that are over 3m tall, and they will only begin fruiting once they are 2 years old and will produce heavy crops in the 4th to 5th year. Plant them in full sun for the highest berry yields.

My fence runs north east/south west so the location benefits from full/partial sun most of the day. The fence is also raised on a terrace which is a good three feet  above the rest of the garden, so also benefits from well drained soil. The fence is 4ft high, and I'm hoping will offer a stable backdrop to attach the Goji plant to - which grow up to 8ft tall! The plant will also offer an interesting 'screen' from the neighbours during the summer months, while providing both of us with tasty 'superfruits' to nibble on.

Transplanting method

Transplanted September 10th, 2012. I dug a largish hole along the fence line, sprinkled approximately 2oz of bonemeal in the bottom of the hole and mixed with existing soil. After watering really well I left it to soak in while preparing the Goji plant with a good watering too. Carefully removing the Goji plant from its existing pot, I positioned it in the hole and filled back in with remaining soil. Making sure to stamp the soil down which firms in the planting. Watered well once more, and left it to acclimatise to its new location. The transplanted plant is approximately 3ft, so am expecting some die off while the roots become established. I'll probably add supports along the fence to hold it and direct its growth, which its taking hold.

Aside from the 'superfruit' status, the plant is covered in violet flowers in spring/early summer, before the berries appear in summer/autumn. An ornamental climbing shrub, benefitting from being low maintenance and very drought tolerant. It propagates well from cuttings once established. I've added a couple of Saxifrage plants at the base of the goji plant - also drought tolerant - adding some protective evergreen ground cover and a little colour over the winter months when the deciduous plants drops its leaves.

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