Boysenberry Festival is one of the tastiest seasons of fun at Knott’s Berry Farm. We had a blast this year – we enjoyed all the food offerings, especially the boysenberry milkshakes and chocolate dipped boysenberry cheesecake on a stick. We also loved the new shows and boysenberry merchandise. I would have to say that this was the best Boysenberry Festival to date!
This year there was tons of great boysenberry merchandise. It included items such as boysenberry chocolates, jerky, soda, candy, coffee and even a complete bath and body line. We picked up the annual boysenberry festival tees for the whole family, and this year we purchased a real boysenberry plant to take home and plant. Yep, we are going to grow our own boysenberries.
If you were one of the lucky ones who also purchased a boysenberry plant during the boysenberry festival, then you are probably getting ready to plant it. You will be happy to know that right now is the best time of year to plant boysenberry plants, and if you have a nice sunny spot in your yard (as boysenberries love the sun and only partial shade), then you are good to go.
Here are some great tips on how to plant and grow your boysenberry plant:
First, you want to make sure that the pH in your soil is correct for growing boysenberry plants. A pH range from 6-7 is ideal. If it is not in this range, you can add lime to raise it, and sulfur to lower it. It is also best to incorporate compost and nutrients into the soil. The compost will help with drainage.
Next, you need to create a structure that will support your boysenberry as they grow. Boysenberries are a vine plant, so they will continue to wrap themselves around anything they can vine onto. You can simply use a trellis found at your nearest garden store, or build one yourself. A few poles and some wire will work just fine. Space out the poles along a fence and string three to four wires across them. You can use plant ties to help keep them secure.
If you rather plant your boysenberry plant in a flower pot, make sure to get one that is at least 18 inches wide and 12-14 inches deep. It also needs to have several drainage holes and be filled with the slightly acidic soil mentioned above. Plant the boysenberry plant in the middle of the container and place a trellis, cage or poles entwined with wire. Make sure to also add compost and nutrients.
Boysenberries grow best in moist soil. You never want the soil to become dried out because boysenberries are not drought tolerant. The moisture helps produce the boysenberry buds and berry development. When you water, make sure the water goes deep, but be careful not to overwater or flood your plants. Also, try not get the leaves wet because that can cause rot and disease to your boysenberry plant. It is best to water in the morning so that any moisture on the leave can dry up in the sunshine.
Once you have planted your boysenberry plant, you can spread a layer of mulch or wood chips over the soil. This will combat weeds and keep some of the moisture in the soil. Fertilize the boysenberries with a 20-20-20 mix (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) at the beginning of spring and then every 4 weeks after that. Till in the fertilizer and then re-mulch the soil each time. If you have used a container to plant your boysenberry plant, you will need to water and fertilize it more often as containers have limited volume.
As the boysenberry plant grows and vines, use plant ties to secure it to your trellis or wire structure. You will see a white flower bloom, and once they have been pollinated, they will grow a boysenberry. You will know a boysenberry is ripe when it is dark purple, plump and shiny.
After the berries are harvested at the end of summer, the vines will need to be pruned. This is usually done between autumn and winter. Make sure to use clean cutting tools – you can soak in one part water, one part alcohol. Pruning involves cutting the fruit-bearing vines down and any of the long or weak vines to shorten. The fruit-bearing vines will be woody, and the next year will produce even more fruit. Boysenberry plants go dormant in winter, but they will be back next spring ready to start the berry growing process all over again!
Hope you enjoy your boysenberry plant.