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4 Super Fruits and How They Grow

Every few years another food is labeled a "super food" because of its high levels of antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients.

Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything

Commonly known as chokeberries, Aronia berries are said to have the highest level of cancer- and age-fighting antioxidant, anthocyanin of any fruit. The berries are tart when eaten raw, and are best combined with other ingredients or sweetened.

As attractive as it is productive, Aronia flowers in late spring, and has superb fall color that complements the dark berries, so plant this bush where it will be seen. It's a large, shubby plant, reaching 6 feet tall and 10 ft. wide.

Aronia grows well in a range of conditions but is best in a moist, acidic soil, in partial shade or full sun. Incorporate plenty of organic matter before planting. This plant should be kept moist at all times, especially during the first year. Apply a thick mulch of chipped bark after planting to help retain moisture and suppress weeds. Aronia takes a few years to establish and reach full productivity, so be patient. You may need to protect plants from birds when the berries are ripe; they develop their best flavor after hard frosts. USDA Zones 3 to 8

 

Jostaberries are not fussy about soil but will benefit from plenty of organic matter. Choose a sheltered spot in full sun. They are self-fertile and also resistant to many of the pests and diseases that affect gooseberries and black currants. Their vigor makes them useful as informal hedging. Birds love the fruit, so net the plant well at ripening time. USDA Zones 3b to 7

 

Unlike blueberry bushes, which require acidic soil, the honeyberry plant grows in any soil.

You need two plants of different cultivars for one to pollinate the other; otherwise they will not fruit. It can be tricky finding cultivars that flower at the same time, so ask suppliers when purchasing. Plants can have a wayward habit, so prune after fruiting. Pick when the fruit is soft but leave them for two days before using to allow the flavors to develop. Honeyberry fruits the second year after planting.

This is a hardy shrub that prefers semi-shade and moist, well-drained soil. Hardy to USDA Zone 2, depending on cultivar.

Goji plants prefer fertile, well-drained soil in a sunny spot. When planting, incorporate lots of well-rotted organic matter, such as manure, and keep them well watered for the first year. Flowering occurs in late spring and summer, but significant fruit production doesn't happen till the third year after planting.

There are two species of goji: Lycium barbarum, USDA Zones 6B to 9, and Lycium chinense, USDA Zones 4b to 9b.

Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything

© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2010

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