If you’re looking for a plant that is easy to grow, low maintenance, high production, and just about impossible to kill, then look no further than the Haskap!
Native to Russia and Japan, the “Haskap” berry, also known as Fly Honeysuckle, Blue Honeysuckle, Honeyberry, or Lonicera caerulea, is a delicious addition to any garden, field, greenhouse, or potted patio garden.
The flavor of the berries has been described as a combination of grape, raspberry, and blueberry, with a sweet start and a nice sour zing to finish.
Yezberry® Maxie, Japanese Haskap
Cold hardy to zone 2, these plants can survive -13 degree weather without showing any signs of damage. The open flowers can reportedly tolerate as low as 14 degrees before they start to show any signs of stress.
This is a plant so cold-hardy that you could put it in the freezer overnight while it is flowering, take it out the next morning, and it would be just fine.
How to Grow the Haskap Honeyberry
As with any berry plant, during the first year, they need ample water and well-draining soil to properly establish a root system.
After the second year, watering becomes less of a concern, and birds become the primary focus. Cedar Waxwings, among many other birds, will strip a Haskap plant clean of berries if bird netting is not used.
Reports indicate that 1/2 inch netting will result in birds sticking their heads through, but being unable to get back out. For the safety of your visiting birds, look for 1/4 inch or smaller holes.
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Although similar to blueberries in soil requirements, reports indicate that soil attuned for tomatoes may yield the best results. They have been known to adapt to a very wide range of soil pH and makeup.
The University of Saskatchewan, who do a lot of work to create hybrid plants that are more hardy and delicious, grow their Haskap plants in clay soil with a pH a little over 7, while some people report growing them at a pH as low as 4.0 in anything from gravel to sandy loam.
Eating the Haskap Honeyberry
The ripe berries will vary between being more tear-drop shaped, to being more bell-shaped and are around the size of a blueberry.
They are delicious to eat fresh off the plant, but if you can contain your appetite long enough, or if you grow enough plants, you will be pleasantly surprised by the flavor that comes out of the berries when cooked.
Jam, pies, smoothies, ice cream toppings, and wine are just some of the possibilities when it comes to uses for this fantastic berry.
Growing Haskap for Profit
Given enough room for 4 feet between rows, approximately 1,000 plants can be fit comfortably into 1 acre of land.
Each plant, when at least 3 years old and properly bird netted, will yield an average of 10 pounds of fruit per year.
That means, per acre, these berries are able to produce 10,000 pounds of berries every year! The price can vary a lot depending on your location, but even at $5 a pound, these berries would make you 50,000 dollars every year, just to go pick them.
All you have to do is put in a year of planting them, and a couple of years of watering them, and you can be enjoying delicious Haskap honeyberries every day for the rest of your life, or making a living selling them. There’s money in those honeyberries!
Tuesday 15th of September 2020
I have never heard of honeyberries before. They sound delicious to eat raw and I'm sure they would be great in a pie or crumble top.
Sunday 20th of September 2020
Definitely! Easy to grow and super hardy too!