Archive for the ‘Growing Huckleberries’ Category
Gloucester Daily Times
I ordered some herbs from a catalog this year. Included were some huckleberry seeds. I planted the seeds in an 8-inch clay pot, and now they are about a foot high. How high will they grow, and should I plant them in the ground?
Hi there, my name’s Patrick and I’m growing huckleberries in Perth, Australia!
I’m nearly 16 weeks into the process and have some lovely little seedlings so far. We’re getting well into an Australian summer so a couple haven’t survived the hot weather (maximum temps of at least 30C/86F and up to 37C/100F this week), but most are big and strong enough to cope.
A little bit of background – I fell in love with huckleberries when I moved to Portland, OR a couple of years ago. My wife got a job back in Australia, so before I moved I hiked up into the Mt Hood wilderness and picked some berries to collect the seeds. I checked it all out with AQIS to make sure that the seeds were allowed in the country and planted them a couple of weeks after I got back in early Spring. Prof Barney’s book is fantastic, I emailed him before I left for Australia and he was very encouraging, too. So far, the seedlings are growing in old cherry tomato punnets in “native plant striking mix” – my Dad’s a plant pathologist and raises Australian native plants with it. We tried transplanting a few seedlings a couple of weeks ago but I think the potting mix had too much nitrogen and they didn’t make it.
At the moment, we’re just maintaining them through the hot weather, fertilizing every 2-4 weeks and then when we get some cooler weather, we’re planning to transfer them to individual pots. I’ll upload some photos of the seedlings, too. I haven’t quite worked out yet how to get them cold enough to go dormant during winter without exposing them to frost. Might have to buy an old fridge…
Albany Democrat Herald
SWEET HOME — Huckleberries were an important part of the diets of native Americans … Opening the canopy will increase the amount of light for huckleberry …
The huckleberry plant, native to the United States, bares berry-like fruits that contain 10 seeds per fruit. Raising huckleberries requires a big commitment …
The ancient path of the huckleberry is covered by the foot-steps of generations of Native Americans. In late summer when the huckleberries came into their …
Huckleberry plants flower from April until June. These small blooms are a pale yellow or pink and are quite inconspicuous. While the huckleberries …
You may be able to purchase wild blueberry stock from a nursery, but huckleberries are generally only found in the wild. Wild huckleberry plants must be …
Huckleberries have the reputation of being difficult to grow. … Most huckleberries grow in moist, acidic woodland soils that are rich in humus. …
By Pip Gardner
I think that’s all for now. I will try to have some pictures next time. As always I am open to suggestions whether huckleberry related or just basic gardening tips. I’ll mention you in the blog post if I use anything. …
By Michael Antoniak
There’s more huckleberries to be picked every day until the season run its brief course. Plenty to satisfy me and the parade of birds which make their way to that bush throughout the day for the seasonal treat we share. …
They know me so well that they got me a bottle of Huckleberry Creme Soda made right in Missoula. They also got me a Huckleberry Chocolate Bar and some Huckleberry Fudge. I am guessing huckleberries are all the rage up their in Montana. …
Ever since my husband went to Montana last year and brought home some huckleberry jam my son loves it. The problem is you can’t find it here, …
By Pip Gardner
According to my research and Barney (pg 24), huckleberry plants aren’t supposed to start flowering until 3-5 years. I am not expecting any fruit this year or next year for that matter. However, I am certain that one of the plants has a …
Following is an older post from 2005, but still has some interesting information:
Wild huckleberry nearly tamed
Not everyone thrilled about efforts to domesticate Idaho state fruit
Betsy Z. Russell
July 7, 2005
After a century without success, researchers say they are now within three to five years of domesticating the wild huckleberry . . . .
By Dr. Dan Barney, University of Idaho
Commercial harvests of huckleberries and bilberries from the wild predate the nineteenth-century European settlers when these fruits were traded and bartered by Native Americans. By the late twentieth century, wildcrafted huckleberries had developed into a significant industry in the northwestern United States. Mountain huckleberry (Vaccinium membranaceum) is the primary source of fruit for today’s culinary market, with Cascade huckleberry (V. deliciosum) and oval-leaved bilberry (V. ovalifolium) occasionally being harvested for their fruit. Along the Pacific Coast, evergreen huckleberry (V. ovatum) is often harvested from the wild and occasionally grown in cultivation – not for its fruit, but for its attractive foliage that is sold for use in floral arrangements. Northwest natives that are seldom used commercially in North America but are popular in Europe and parts of Asia include bilberry or dwarf huckleberry (V. myrtillus) and alpine bilberry (V. uliginosum).
Huckleberries and bilberries are popular for many reasons. Some, like the mountain and Cascade huckleberries, have outstanding flavors and aromas and lend themselves to the production of a vast array of culinary and cosmetic products. Restaurants throughout North America, from mom-and-pop diners to upscale resorts, feature huckleberries in specialty sauces, desserts, and salad dressings.
In today’s society, people are intensely interested in foods and other natural products that can help prevent cancer, heart disease, and other health problems. Research in Europe and North American have shown that huckleberries and bilberries are rich in anthocyanins, antioxidants, and other compounds that may be beneficial to human health. In recent years, some brokers have begun exporting huckleberry and bilberry fruits and products to overseas health food markets.
Besides their practical uses, huckleberries epitomize wilderness and nature. With a large, growing, and affluent population in western North America, combined with an expanding tourist trade, high-value huckleberry products targeting the gift and tourist markets are enjoying great popularity.
Could the huckleberry and bilberry industries expand? Absolutely! Unfortunately, demand for the fruits often far outstrips available supplies. Also, as demand has increased and wild crops have dwindled or become less accessible, prices have risen to the point that they are becoming prohibitive, especially for small-scale processors. The obvious solution, at least for some product lines, is to grow huckleberries and bilberries in cultivation as we do blueberries and raspberries.
With the exception of a few, small evergreen huckleberry farms near the coast, huckleberries and bilberries have not been cultivated. Attempts to cultivate these species have been made, but most ended in failure. These failures can usually be attributed to a lack of knowledge about the crops and their growing requirements, growing the crops in areas where they were poorly adapted, trying to transplant plants from the wild, and lack of improved cultivars.
Many of those barriers still exist today, but we have made great progress. Past research by the U.S. Forest Service and University of Montana laid the groundwork for current programs at the University of Idaho and Montana State University. We are learning much about the soil and climatic requirements for huckleberries and bilberries and are developing and testing cultural practices for managing these crops in forest stands and cultivating them in fields. The University of Idaho, aided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Agricultural Research Service, has an active program to develop improved cultivated varieties. Promising selections of mountain huckleberry, bilberry, and oval-leaved bilberry will be provided to cooperating researchers and nurseries for testing throughout the Northwestern U.S. beginning in 2005. We should see the first named cultivars between 2008 and 2020.
So, what are the prospects for commercial production of huckleberries and bilberries? The reality is, field cultivation of these crops is unproven. Without more development and testing, large-scale attempts to grow these crops would be very risky. We are, however, at a point where growers can begin small-scale trials to evaluate which crops and practices might be appropriate for their particular sites. Seedlings are commercially available to prospective growers and the University of Idaho can provide guidelines on propagating and growing these crops.
Whereas large-scale field cultivation is still at least several years away, we have the knowledge needed to commercially manage huckleberries and bilberries in naturally occurring forest stands. Typical strategies include controlling competing vegetation, water management, and managing shade through tree density. Improving stands with the addition of high-yielding or otherwise superior plants is feasible on some sites. Similar strategies were applied to “North American wild blueberries,” formerly known as lowbush blueberries (V. angustifolium and V. myrtilloides). Combined with effective marketing, wild stand management propelled the wild blueberry industry to great success in the late twentieth century. Although risks remain, management of “wild” stands will almost certainly represent the first step in expanding the production and marketing of western huckleberries and bilberries.
Will cultivation and managed production destroy the huckleberry mystique and ruin the market? Some processors and marketers have expressed this fear. A century ago, blueberries were wild crops, not considered suitable for cultivation. Efforts to domesticate them probably met with many of the same fears. Instead of destroying the mystique and market, highbush, lowbush, and rabbiteye blueberry production became large and profitable industries in North America and abroad.
Also, the goal in the huckleberry and bilberry development program is to expand opportunities and profitability in the industry while protecting valuable natural resources. It seems likely that wildcrafted berries will remain a valuable part of the industry, particularly for high-value, niche products. Large-scale processors, restaurateurs, nutritional supplement and pharmaceutical companies, and export brokers who require large volumes of fruit and leaves should welcome the uniform, reliable crops cultivation and stand management are likely to provide.
The bottom line? There are certainly opportunities. There are also risks, particularly with field cultivation.
If you are interested in producing cultivated or managed huckleberries or bilberries, start small. For field cultivation, 100 to 1000 plants will help you evaluate your site and develop your skills and appropriate production practices. For trial purposes, an area of one-tenth to one-quarter acre is sufficient.
The same caution applies to managing a forest stand. Most private forest landowners will probably find that managing one to ten acres of huckleberries will provide all of the work they can handle at first. As your skills and experience grow, you can decide whether a huckleberry enterprise is really desirable on your site. If so, you will be in a good position to expand your enterprise successfully. If not, you can close the enterprise without a serious financial loss.
RainTree carries several western huckleberries, but not the Idaho/Montana variety, but good berries, none the less.
Plants of the Wild, in eastern Washington, carries only one huckleberry plant: the Mountain Huckleberry, or vaccineum membranaceum
Fall Creek Nursery Varieties carries several huckleberry plants, but only one northwest variety.
Hartman’s Plant Company sells bilberry seedlings