A really healthy option to add to your grow your own list. Cranberries are classed as a Superfruit, being packed with Vitamin C and antioxidants and coming with many health claims behind them. Preferring acid soils they are a good ground cover accompaniment to blueberries, both working well in combination in the kitchen too. It will take several years until fruiting starts when growing from seed but the wright is worth it, when fresh fruit is rarely offered in the supermarket. Height: 15cm (6in). Spread 30cm (12in).
Sow in trays, pots, etc of good seed compost, just covering the seed with compost or vermiculite. Sow at any time of year. Germination can be slow. After sowing, seal container in a polythene bag and leave at 60-65F (15-18C) for 2 weeks, then place in a refrigerator (not freezer) for 3-6 weeks. After this return to the recommended germination temperature. If germination does not occur in 6-10 weeks return to the fridge for a further 3-6 weeks. Examine regularly whilst in the fridge and remove immediately the seeds show signs of germinating.
Lingonberry and cranberry plants require a well drained, acid soil in a sunny or semi shaded position. When growing vaccininum plants in areas where acid soil does not naturally occur, try planting them in patio containers using a mix of ericaceous compost and John Innes No. 3.
If possible, lingonberry bushes and cranberriy plants should be watered with rainwater because the lime contained in tap water will reduce the acidity in the soil over time. Lingonberries are surprisingly drought tolerant and dislike being overwatered. As fruits begin to develop, cover the plants with netting to protect the berries from birds. Lingonberries and cranberries require little pruning except for the occasional removal of damaged or misplaced shoots. Culinary note: Lingonberries and cranberries are high in vitamins and nutrients. They can be used to make excellent jams, sauces and pies.
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