Saturday, August 15, 2009

Garden Huckleberry

This year I tried something new in my garden so I thought I'd share what I have learned about the "garden huckleberry" or wonderberry (Solanum melanocerasum, syn S. nigrum guineense).  It actually isn't a true huckleberry, rather it is an annual in the nightshade family (think tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, etc).  I started the seeds indoors in the Spring, and they were one of my hardiest transplants into the garden.  Currently I have 3 huge plants in the garden - each could bear hundreds of small fruit.  One of the websites I looked at for more info said they can grow up to 2 feet tall, but mine are going crazy and are 4 feet tall!  
The fruit isn't edible until the berries turn to a dull purple.  I have some that are shiny purple right now.  I've read that it is just a matter of a week or two and these shiny ones will be dull.  I've also read that the berries' flavor will improve if left on the plant until after the first frost.  The pulp inside should turn from green to purple as well.  
The berries need to be sweetened with sugar, but make excellent pies and jams (from what I've read).  I'm going to attempt a jam.  If I fail, I'm not out anything... these seeds were given to me by Burgess Seed co. as a free bonus with my order (perhaps to make up for the dead  paw paw and blueberry plants they shipped to me -- I will not be ordering from them again).  
Overall, it has been fun to grow the garden huckleberry.  I will keep you updated on what I do with the fruit.  


Amanda said...

I stumbled upon your blog a week or two ago and added you to my favorites... just thought I'd say hello and tell you that I am lurking about and reading and looking. I love your photos of and around the farm!!! I love farms!

I grew up in a country setting and now live in a suburb type of setting.. so your pictures and your blog area lot of fun to look at - especially when I miss the country.

(Oh, and if you follow my profile to the blog listed on the bottom... it is a new one and not my normal one. My normal one isn't listed on my profile ... but it is here:

Take care!


FlowerMomma said...

Sweet! Can't wait to heat how the jam turns out! Yeah it was a bummer about the dead Paw Paw's. Any word on your house? We are house hunting again too.

Shari said...

I'm glad my blog reminds you of where you grew up. I was just the opposite. I grew up in the suburbs of a big city and moved toward the country when I got married.

Thanks for adding me to your favorites.

FlowerMomma, no word yet about the house. Hopefully we will find something out today. We are meeting our realtor to look at three more houses.