Haskaps

 

Last year we decided to invest in some Haskap Berry plants. We had been searching for some kind of produce that would be suitable in our climate and possibly different then in the stores. When we read about a couple in Sudbury who had tried growing them successfully, our curiosity was peaked. What was a Haskap?

So we did some research, which led us to Haskap Canada. Haskaps are also known as the edible or Blue Honeysuckle, by the Japanese, that produce a berry. There are many health benefits, and even dying properties, that the berry has. A natural dye and good for you, there were even recipes for food and drink. When they were first introduced into Canada, the variety was bitter and abandoned as a crop.

The University of Saskatchewan Fruit Program decided to take another look at this fruit and found that there were many other sweeter varieties. They set out to see which varieties would grow best in the various climates of Canada. They soon became the main supplier for Canada, and that led us to Riverbend Orchards in Manitoba. So after asking lots of questions from the experts at Riverbend Orchards, we initially ordered 30…then 50 but then the prices became lower. So we settled on 100, with the hopes that more then 50% would survive the winter.

We had already begun work on some hügle garden bed, and began work on extending it. We had ordered 15 Borealis plugs (pollinators) and 85 Auroras plugs, and needed 4 feet between them. Making a map of the garden to follow where each plug was to be planted. The order arrived much earlier then expected, and with it the humidity. The garden was completed in the next two days, as we took shifts in the heat. About 3-4 plants didn’t survive the trip but we planted them anyway, just encase they came back in the spring.

We circled the garden with an electric fence, which mostly helped keep our chickens and other small animals out. The deer were in it over the winter, and the birds in the spring. Overall about 72 made it over winter and even some had bore fruit. They actually kept growing nicely through the summer even with the heat, as long as they had water. Since they take up to three years to bear larger crops, we have a bit more time to wait.

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