Saturday, May 30, 2015

Zone 4b - South Dakota - Clay soil good for haskap, sandy soil bad

Honey Bee haskap bushes

Borealis haskap bushes
The honeyberries planted in the Fort Thompson Community Orchard (April 2012) are thriving. We have (20 each) Tundra, Honeybee and Borealis. All are doing fine and no pollination issues. The soil is a pretty average, to a slightly higher clay, than most soils in our area. They seem to like it. Just three miles away, my honeyberries are planted in a much finer sandier soil. They are NOT doing well at all. There are no berries on them at all this year. They are just surviving. I am going to increase their water even more this year and see if that helps. Definitely won't be planting more honeyberries around my place.
Honey Bee haskap berries
We just picked some of the ripe ones from the Tundra and a few from the Honeybee (May 29/15).  Some were ripe enough that they were falling off.  Great eating.  Only picked about half a gallon.  The majority are a bit away yet and on the Honeybee bushes there is almost like a second crop of the berries that are still very green. 
Rod Vaughn, Diamond Willow Ministries (, Ft. Thompson, SD
Crow Creek Community Orchard:

1 comment:

  1. Nice blog you've got here. I planted a Russian variety this year in sandy soil and was wondering why it wasn't really putting on much growth. I'll be moving it to richer, heavier soil now then.

    I've heard that Russian varieties are inferior in flavour though and I only bought the one plant on a whim, researching it latter. Apparently the subspecies from Japan which was used for breeding in the American and Canadian breeding is better.

    I think I'll be getting some other varieties, Tundra and Borealis sound promising on here and maybe do some crosses of my own.

    This plant just fascinates me and many other hardy fruit from that part of the world too because it's just so hardy and able to tolerate cooler summers too than other fruit.
    I could see these doing well in places like Iceland or the upland areas of Britain and Ireland where summers aren't much different from the winter (wet and cool).

    I'm also looking at Arctic Kiwis (Actinidia kolomitka), Amur grape (Vitis amurensis) and Japanese grape (Vitis coignetiae) from that same region of north east Asia.
    All are hardy, but more importantly here in the UK they all have very early ripening in cool summers with lower temperatures.
    I currently breed a lot of grapes based on Vitis amurensis, coignetiae and American/Canadian species riparia. Haskaps / Honeyberries would make a good additional project.