Growing Berries in March: Tips for a "Berryful" Garden

“It’s the berries” was widely used by American youth in the 1920s to describe something very wonderful or pleasant.

Though the slang term has long fallen out of fashion, it’s undeniable that the taste of berries is highly enjoyable. From the exquisite red of raspberries to the tart yellow of golden berries, berries have long been beloved for their succulent flesh and delightful color. 

Yet, there is nothing more disappointing than frozen berries from the grocery store, hardened and unpalatable, only to be rendered soggy by thawing.

By growing berries in your own backyard, you can reap the benefits of fresh fruit in the summer and have enough left over for jams and preservatives.   

Growing different varieties of berries

Tips for a beautiful garden of berries | Vego Garden

Growing berries can be a daunting task, but with a few tips, you’ll soon have a vibrant berry patch that yields ripened, perfectly-formed fruit. To make unruly berry patches more manageable, consider growing your berry bushes in raised garden beds. The ideal time to grow berries is early spring, making March the perfect time to get started.  

Some proven benefits of growing your plants in raised garden beds include improved fruit blush color, more even fruit maturity, and increased total yield. Circular garden beds such as this compact twin pack are perfect for berries, shrubs, and small fruit trees.

Below is a guide on growing some of the most popular berry varieties.  


Strawberries are touted as one of the easiest berries to grow, with hanging and compact varieties recently inundating the market. However, the lack of berries or poor, stunted fruit continues to be the vexation of many gardeners. One reason for this problem may be overcrowding. Strawberries do best in raised beds, where their runners will have plenty of room to spread. 

Strawberries are classified in accordance to their fruit production capabilities. June-bearing strawberries will only bear one crop in June, hence its name, and remains the most popular. Everbearing strawberries will produce two yields, usually in June and then in later summer/early fall. Day-neutral strawberries are a relatively new cultivar that continuously bears fruit. 

Tips for growing strawberries

  • Plant in full sun, in well-draining soils. 
  • Both day-neutral and everbearing varieties will not tolerate heat and are suited for milder, cooler climates. 
  • June bearing strawberries are more susceptible to frost. Protect young plants from extreme temperatures using row covers.  
  • Lack of nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium can lead to small fruit. Soil testing may be needed to identify or remedy nutrient deficiencies. 
  • Removing flowers and runners will help siphon energy towards fruit production. 

Raspberries and blackberries

Prized for their jewel-like fruit, raspberries and blackberries both belong to the genus Rubus, colloquially known as brambles. Traditional types grow in long canes while newer types have been bred to flourish in large containers.

In the first year, the canes are vegetative and will only produce foliage before they grow dormant in the winter. In the second year, they bear fruit, then die down. 

Despite enduring only for two summers, raspberries can bear fruit for years because the plants are constantly producing new canes. Since their growing habits are very similar, the care guide for raspberries and blackberries can be applied to both. Both prefer sandy loam soils high in organic matter. 

Tips for growing raspberries and blackberries

  • The same conditions that allow raspberries to thrive also allow weeds to proliferate. Suppress noxious weeds using mulch.
  • Avoid planting them in areas where members of the nightshade family have been grown. 
  • Fruiting canes are either primocanes or floricanes. Primocanes refers to the vegetative canes in the first year and are identified by their thin, woody bark; floricanes are the shoots in the second year. After they have fallen dormant, cut down spent floricanes to the root level.  
  • A trellis system can act as a support for sprawling varieties. 


Blueberries in a spring garden | Vego Garden

Blueberries have gained the reputation as being more finicky to grow than other berries. It’s true that they have special requirements, including an affinity for slightly acidic soils. But they are also loaded with nutrients and deliciously textured. Once you get past some common mistakes, you’ll find that blueberries are easy to coax into fruit. 

Specific blueberries grow well in specific climates. For example, rabbiteye varieties are drought tolerant and do well in the South. Select cultivars that are compatible with your climate. 

Tips for growing blueberries

  • An acidic pH level is crucial. 4.5 to 5.2 is ideal, any higher than 5.5 and the plant will not thrive. Elemental sulfur can help decrease the soil pH.
  • Apply fertilizer in the spring, when the buds are forming. Worm castings are an outstanding organic fertilizer for blueberries. 
  • Inconsistent watering regime can affect berry production. Late season irrigation to maintain moisture in August and September ensures healthy crops next year. 
  • Avoid piling mulch onto the stems of the plant. This will lead to suffocation and disease. 
  • Birds will peck at blueberries with abandon, especially small isolated plantings. Physical barriers such as row covers will shield your plants from birds and other pests.  

How do I water berries and fruit trees?

Apple tree in garden | Vego Garden

Fruit trees require consistent watering, especially as they become established. Young trees will need to be shielded from drought stress, which can stunt growth. Overhead sprinklers and soaker hoses will suffice, but drip irrigation is recommended because this method delivers water to the root line. 

Many home gardeners will use this watering ring kit to easily control the soil quality, neatly contain mulch, and protect their tree from moisture loss and other adverse environmental conditions. 

What types of berries are the easiest to grow?

Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, gooseberries, and currants are relatively easy to grow. Recently, there has been an influx of unusual berries in niche markets, such as saskatoons, loganberries and honeyberries, which appear as novel versions of well-known types.

They are generally considered more maintenance, potentially resulting in lower fruit quality. If you want a surplus of berries, these are not recommended.  

1 comment

  • Alison Schiller

    Last year I planted a thornless blackberry plant in one of the Compact Twin Pack round raised beds & added strawberries to the planter last fall. Spring is almost here & both berry plants are thriving. I’m excited for the harvest! US Zone 9 🥰🍓🫐🪴

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