Reviewer Conny Withay:Operating her own business in office management since 1991, Conny is an avid reader, volunteers reading the Bible to the elderly, and makes handmade jewelry. A cum laude graduate with a degree in art living in the Pacific Northwest, she is married with two sons, two daughter-in-laws, and one granddaughter.
As Stella Otto states in her second gardening book, The BackYard Berry Book, “most people … eagerly await the first ripe fruit of summer … find that somehow those picture perfect berries that appear on the grocery store shelf leave something to be desired … and enjoy tickling your palate with a new culinary adventure.” With her instructional textbook, “wait no longer!”
This two hundred and eighty-four page paperback book published in 1995 is truly a hands-on guide to growing berries, brambles and vine fruit in the home garden. With over eighty simplistic black and white illustrations and over thirty-five charts, the novice to expert can easily look up topics or instructions on growing all types of berries in America.
Similar to the author’s prior book on fruit trees, this is also divided into six organized sections that include the fundamentals of small fruit growing, early spring fruit, brambles, bush fruit, vine fruit and resources.
The first section starts at the beginning, explaining how to select and prepare the site, how to select a healthy plant, understand berry botany and development, what to do about soil nutrition, pH and water and how to control pests, insects, diseases and wildlife.
The next four sections are about specific plant groups. Early spring fruit includes strawberries and rhubarb, brambles refer to raspberries and blackberries while bush fruit are blueberries, lingonberries, currants and gooseberries. The vine fruit covers bunch and muscadine grapes along with kiwifruit. Each section discusses in detail each plant’s ideal planting site, preparation, growth habits, varieties, care after planting, pruning, diseases, insects and harvest.
A new or seasoned gardener can look up the Marion berry, a common mid-season blackberry from the Pacific Northwest and learn that all trailing brambles need to be protected from sunlight during planting, require trellising of the healthiest six floricanes, and bear a partial crop in their second year of growth forty to sixty days after bloom. First time blackberry growers tend to pick too early when the fruit is shiny and should wait a few days until they soften and lose their shine before picking.
The final section of the book has troubleshooting questions and answers, a seasonal activity calendar, sources for nurseries, associations and publications along with a glossary and extensive six page index.
This simple but informative book is a the perfect gardener’s tool that gives one the confidence and knowledge to actually attempt to grow berries in their yard that they can enjoy and eat for years to come.
Follow Here To Purchase The Backyard Berry Book: A Hands-On Guide to Growing Berries, Brambles, and Vine Fruit in the Home Garden