Grow Your Own Cranberries

Who knew you can grow your own cranberries without a bog? From Doreen Howard:

What they require are acid soil, wet feet, and full sun in any climate from USDA Zones 2 to 6. Warmer areas are too hot for the vines.

I ordered a four-year-old plant that was guaranteed to bear fruit its first year in the ground. It came with explicit planting instructions, and I followed them exactly with great success. Almost a pound of cranberries were harvested the first year.

My soil isn’t acidic; it’s the end of a former glacier full of limestone with a pH of 7.4. I dug a 12-inch-deep pit, two feet wide and four feet long. The soil was replaced with half sharp sand and half peat moss. To this mix, I added one cup each of bone meal, blood meal, Epsom salts, and rock phosphate.

After the bed was thoroughly watered, I set the plant about a half inch below soil level. Shredded bark mulch and pine needles were layered to create a two-inch-thick mulch. The vine was nearly buried!

Maintenance, other than keeping the soil damp, is almost nonexistent. I did add a brick border to keep encroaching weeds from invading. By next summer, the vine runners should fill the bed, and I won’t have to worry about weeds.

The second home I lived at in Portland had raspberry bushes in the backyard, which kept us fully stocked with fresh berries throughout the summer.  Sounds like cranberries are just as easy.

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