Goji Berry Plant Information: What Are Goji Berries?
Goojis are small red berries produced by the genus Gojira (pronounced “goh-WAH-rah”). They are native to tropical Asia and have been cultivated for their edible fruit since ancient times. The name “goji” comes from the Japanese word “gokusu”, which means red or purple.
The Goji family includes over 50 species of plants with different colors ranging from white to deep red. These berries are usually eaten raw or cooked. Some varieties are used in traditional medicine; others are consumed fresh. There is no scientific evidence that any of these fruits contain medicinal properties, but they do taste delicious!
How Do You Grow Goji Berries?
There are several ways to grow goji berries. One way is to simply transplant them into your garden. Another method involves planting seeds directly in soil, then covering the seeds with compost or manure. A third option is to use a commercial fertilizer that contains nitrogen and phosphorous. Both methods result in the same outcome – a crop of goji berries!
Growing Goji Berries From Cuttings…Or Not?
There is some confusion surrounding the topic of cuttings. Rooting goji berry cuttings can be an effective way to multiply your crop without waiting for new plants to grow from seeds. Some people claim that goji berries do not root well. This isn’t accurate, but there are some factors to consider.
For example, with sufficient light and high humidity, it only takes about a week for goji rootstock to produce new roots. Keep in mind that the goji plant is susceptible to fungal diseases. Like other plants, it can become infected with organisms such as pythium and phytopthora, which like wet environments. If roots are kept in a damp environment, this can increase the chances of infection.
Using goji cuttings is probably not a good idea if you live in a humid or tropical area. Instead, consider planting seeds (which are easy to acquire) or simply buying new plants.
Container Or Raised Bed?
You can also grow goji berries in containers, which are relatively affordable and convenient. The advantages of container growing include less maintenance, which means more time for you to enjoy your berries!
However, if you want a large crop of berries and have the time to take care of them, a raised bed is the way to go. Raised beds warm up faster in the spring and stay warmer longer in the fall. They also allow you to implement good soil management techniques, including amending the soil with compost.
Goji berries like loose, well-draining soil with a medium pH (5.5 – 6.5). If you’re using container gardening, choose a heavy container that won’t tip over after planting.
If you’re using a raised bed, you can create a double-decker effect by placing containers on top of the soil.
How To Care For Goji Berries
The most important thing to remember when growing goji berries is that these plants need a lot of water, especially while they’re fruiting. This might be a chore if you have a large garden bed, but it’s probably worth it!
Other than watering, these plants aren’t too demanding. Like most plants, they don’t like their roots to be soaked for extended periods of time, so it’s best to water them in the morning so the soil has a chance to dry out a bit by nighttime.
How To Harvest And Eat Goji Berries
You can harvest goji berries any time after they turn red. Gently shaking the plant should cause the berries to fall off. You can then eat them right away or store them in the fridge!
These berries have a sweet flavor and make delicious snacks. They can also be juiced or made into jams and jellies.
Although goji berries are generally fairly hardy, there are a few problems that can occur, including:
Black leaves – This problem is more of an aesthetic issue than anything else. The leaves can turn a dark, black color, but the plant itself should be fine.
Deer – These pesky creatures love to eat berries, so your goji bushes could be a target. If the deer in your area are particularly hungry, it might be best to surround your plants with a wire fence.
Diseases – These berries can become diseased, but this is more of a result of environmental factors than anything else. Poor soil, over-watering, and extended periods of rainy weather tend to make plants (and people) sick!
Harvesting – You may be inclined to harvest some of your berries early. While you certainly can do this, the fruit won’t taste as good. It should be deep red in color before being ready for picking.
Do Goji Berries Really Have Benefits?
This is a question that has no simple answer. There hasn’t been enough research to clinically prove that these berries provide any significant health benefits. However, there is some evidence that they may provide the following benefits:
Boosting the immune system
Fight inflammation and tumors
Improve eyesight (in cases of macular degeneration)
Improve sleep quality
Strengthen the heart and blood vessels
These effects are certainly worth investigating. Luckily, it’s incredibly easy to grow your own goji berries!
Are you ready to start your journey towards a healthier lifestyle?
With so many delicious goji recipes out there and so many ways to grow your own nutritious berries, it’ll be easy! All you have to do is decide where you want to start.
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