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Goji Berries
goji berry plants

The Goji Berry (Lycium barbarium) plant is widely known as being a "Super Fruit" packed with vitamins, anti-oxidants, amino acids and polysaccarides.  You have to believe its properties given the price currently charged for Goji juice, dried berries and similar products!! 

The plant itself looks fairly ordinary with thin canes and long dull green leaves.  It is actually a member of the Solanaceae family (tomatoes and chillies).  The plant has several growth flushes during the season and in between tends to rest with no active growth.

It is at the ends of the new growth that clusters of flowers may form especially in late spring.  The white to purple flowers (like a potato flower) open and then long thin green berries form (like Thai chillies).  These mature in December to an orange colour and can be picked and eaten raw.  The flavour is sweet and like a common cranberry.  They are quite delicious in fact.

In autumn the leaves turn yellow before dropping and you are left with a clump of wiry looking canes as the plant enters its rest period until growth starts again in spring with new shoots. 

 

So how do you go about growing a Goji Berry? 

I would find a suitable site with good exposure to the summer sun as they need sufficient heat to mature the fruit and new canes. 

Plant out in a compost enriched soil as this will aid rapid establishment of the plant which is desirable.  During active growth in summer keep the moisture up to the plant and do not let it dry out for the first two to three years. 

Firstly it is best to think of this plant as a trailing plant rather than a shrub or tree.  In the home garden it can be grown like berry fruit (bramble) against a fence or on wires or frame.  This will help control its sprawling nature and habit.  Tying the canes will also prevent damage from wind and the berries touching the ground etc. 

Each winter the long whippy growths can be tied back to the wire and shortened a bit.  This will result in lots of new laterals forming in spring each bearing clusters of delicious Goji berries. 

With each year the plant will increase in size and cropping potential so you will be able to harvest a quite sizeable crop over a long period.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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