What are dewberries?
Dewberries (Rubus idaeus) are small shrubs with purple flowers. They have white berries that taste like strawberries when eaten raw or cooked. Dewberries belong to the family Rubiaceae which includes other members such as raspberries, blueberries, gooseberry and black currants. There are many varieties of dewberry including those grown commercially in North America, Europe and Asia.
The name “dew” comes from the Latin word meaning “water”. The berries themselves are actually made up of three parts water, one part sugar and two parts starch. When they ripen, the pulp turns into a soft sticky substance called jam. Dewberries can be found growing all over North America except Alaska and Canada.
They prefer moist soil but will tolerate dry conditions if well cared for.
How to Grow Dewberries: Tips For Growing Dewberries
Growing dewberries requires good drainage and plenty of sun. You’ll need a sunny location away from strong winds. If your area doesn’t get much rainfall, you may want to consider growing them in containers instead. They require at least four hours of direct sunlight each day so don’t place them too close to windows during the summer months.
Dewberries prefer well-drained, slightly acidic soil. If your soil is too alkaline they may not grow as well. You can test your soil’s acidity with a home testing kit or get professional help. Add organic materials such as leaf mold, peat moss or rotted sawdust to add acid to your soil and improve drainage.
Planting dewberries is easy. If you buy plants, wait until the spring after your last frost to plant. You can also propagate your own plants in the spring from cuttings. Cut the stems into 4-inch sections and remove the leaves.
Mix a 50/50 mixture of sand and compost and plant the cuttings, burying about a half inch under the soil. Keep them moist and shaded until they start to root. After they are growing well, transplant them into individual pots or directly into your garden beds.
You can also grow dewberries from seeds. Blanch the seeds by placing them in the refrigerator for a few weeks before sowing them to break their dormancy. Cover the seeds with a light soil and keep watered. Transplant them into individual pots once they sprout.
How to Care for Dewberries: Tips For Growing Dewberries
When growing dewberries, it’s important to keep the weeds away. Weeds steal moisture and nutrients from the plants. It’s a good idea to put down mulch around the plants and keep it away from the plants themselves. This will prevent competing weeds from growing as well as keeping the soil temperature even for your plants.
Dewberries don’t need much care other than regular watering. During dry spells you’ll need to give them an extra drink. Fertilize them with a high-phosphorus fertilizer once during the growing season. Pruning is necessary only when growing them in a container, and even then only lightly.
Harvesting your dewberries is easy! Pick the berries once they are ripe by hand or cut them off with scissors if they grow into large groups.
Some people like to make jelly from their dewberries but you can also use them in other desserts such as pancakes, waffles, muffins and shortcakes. They also make great tarts and pies.
Dewberries can also be preserved by freezing or making jams, jellies and syrups.
Dewberries are a great choice for people who have limited space. They produce well in containers and don’t require too much pruning or fussing over. With a little love and care, you’ll have delicious berries to eat and enjoy all summer long!
Sources & references used in this article:
The origin of certain thornless blackberries and dewberries by HB BUTTERFIELD – Journal of Heredity, 1928 – academic.oup.com
A MUTATING BLACKBERRY-DEWBERRY HYBRID by OB Whipple – 1909 – … Station of the Agricultural College of …
Rubus beamanii, a new name for Rubus vagus LH Bailey, a glandular dewberry described from Kalamazoo County, Michigan, and recently discovered in Ohio by LR DETJEN – Journal of Heredity, 1920 – academic.oup.com