Building the Haskap plantation
The Haskap berry is a fruit bush which has significantly gained in its popularity in recent years, due to the unusual shape of the fruit and its nutritional value. An experienced grower will be able to meet the requirements for the Haskap berry plantation but still needs to consider a number of important aspects. Even though this plant is not as demanding at the North American highbush blueberry, it still needs the right environment to grow successfully and bring profits.
What do you need to grow the Haskap berry successfully?
Despite the fact that the requirements are less rigorous than in the case of a highbush blueberry, you still need to prepare the soil. Things to consider when prepping the soil:
the place needs to be shielded from the wind and have sufficient sun exposure a sandy clay soil is best a low soil pH (5,5- 6,5) high levels of humus (5- 6%) a ground water of 60- 100 cm a terrain that is safe from floods and freeze
The Haskap berry can grow on heavy soils as well but the results will be significantly less successful. The first thing that needs to be done is a careful examination of the soil of your future plantation. The optimal pH for soil is 6 pH but it can be fine even when it is 8 pH- if that is the case however, it is worth considering soil acidification, for instance by adding sulphur (cattle manure would be the best choice- the Haskap berry absorbs it especially well). If the soil is missing crucial mineral components: P, K and Mg- they need to be supplemented before planting. The Haskap berry needs soil rich in humus but it is not something indispensable. It is good to remember however to apply a bit more of the organic matter when planting the rows- that will allow for quicker growth of the roots.
How to plant the Haskap berry?
The most important aspect to keep in mind when setting up the berry plantation, is the fact that these plants will require pollinators. That means that the berry varieties you choose to grow, need to be planted alongside plant pollinators. A good example of such partnership is for instance the Aurora berry type planted alongside the Honeybee pollinator type. The presence of bees and bumblebees is absolutely crucial- the pollination process without them would be extremely difficult, to say the least.
The Haskap berry needs to be planted in rows with good sun exposure, with a 4 m space in- between the rows. The seedlings in each row should be planted 60- 80 cm apart. The best row layout is north south- for even sun exposure. The Haskap berry can be planted in flat rows as well as in raised beds. It is best to use annual plants.