Garden Huckleberry


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Solanum melanocesarum syn S. x burbankii
Also known as ‘Wonderberry’ and ‘Sunberry’, this is the perfect fruit bush for those with small gardens or just starting out planting fruit trees and can’t wait to harvest fruit – you’ll get fruit off these bushes just 90 days after planting them out! Garden Huckleberries are not true huckleberries (which are perennial and related to bueberries and cranberries), but are annual members of the Solanaceae or Nightshade family which includes potatoes, tomatoes and eggplants, as well as the weeds black and woolly nightshade. However they do not need half the care or attention that their vegetable relatives need. They will grow with far less water, and should not be overfed as this will just promote leaf growth at the expense of berries. In fact the more you ignore them, the better the crop you’ll get!

The berries are borne freely in bunches all over the shrub, which grows about 70cm wide and high. Care needs to be taken as the unripe berries are poisonous. In fact the berries should be left on the plant as long as possible until they are a dull not shiny black, well into autumn. Luckily the birds do not touch them so they are safe on the plant until you are ready to harvest. Not at all tasty raw, these berries need to be cooked up with a little sugar and then have a flavour very reminiscent of backberries – they are delicious stewed up with apple or used as you would blackberries or blueberries in pies, jams or jellies. The berries are high in antioxidants and yield a vivid purple dye.

9cm pot certified organic plant. Available Nov- Feb only.

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