This delectable berry lies within the berry plant family just between raspberries and blackberries. For that reason Boysenberry plants bear many of the same characteristics of those two plants. The color of a boysenberry is a deep, rich red that borders on being purple in appearance. Its taste is tangy with a touch of sweetness making boysenberries a perfect addition to pancakes in the morning or as an ice cream topping for desert. Additional ways to enjoy this fruit is freezing or canning for future use.
Several factors determine healthy, productive growth of boysenberry plants that include soil preparation, planting and maintenance. Each of these factors works hand in hand with one another to ensure beneficial and productive growth of this type of berry plant for many years to come. Pay careful attention to the placement of boysenberry plants. Do not select any areas that have previously grown potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants or other berry plants. There is the possibility that these plants have tainted the soil with a root destroying disease. Upon planting the boysenberries would immediately come under attack by the disease ruining berry production chances before it even began. Locate areas within a garden or landscape section that receives direct sunlight and little to no wind exposure. Water sources should be readily available and drainage systems should be in place as well.
Soil conditions are a virtual mirror image to that of raspberry plants and blackberry plants. Like these family members, boysenberries require organically rich soil. One of the best places to find this type of soil is by visiting a local nursery or garden center for assistance. After laying the soil down spend some time tilling the area, providing water and generous amounts of mulch or compost to the area. This will work together to keep the soil moist and provide nourishment for the plants throughout the growth process. Boysenberry plants should be placed approximately three feet apart to allow a healthy circulation of oxygen through the area. Ideal planting times are in late spring. Even at this time frost is still an issue. Should a frost occur lay the berry vines flat on the ground and cover with a blanket or other suitable covering.
By nature boysenberry vines like to spread out as they grow. For that reason it is best to select a planting area along a fence line or at the base of a less than desirable tree trunk. Keep in mind that this berry plant remains non fruit bearing for the first year. It is not until the second year following planting that berries begin to appear. When planting in areas that do not provide a fence line or other structure for the vines to adhere to, planting should occur in a trellis system. Guide the trailing vines to grow on the wires of a trellis system. This not only keeps the growing vines off of the ground, it also protects against damage that could occur from routine maintenance, foot traffic or curious animals.
Properly planted boysenberries promote a healthy and productive growth pattern. Therefore it is essential that a routine maintenance schedule be created as well. Establish a weekly watering pattern and no fertilizer applications until harvesting. Once berries begin to appear on the vines, assist the nourishment with liquid plant food. Continue providing nourishment to the plants until berry production no longer occurs. Pruning these plants is not necessary during the first year of growth. Starting with the second year begin cutting down the canes to ground level. This will bring fresh exposure to the plants and prepare it for new berry production. Once harvesting is complete there is no better way to enjoy the hard work than by preparing a fresh boysenberry pie or pitcher of boysenberry juice.