ABOUT cranberry, its benefits and the peculiarities of growing on plots today, much is known from the press to a fairly wide range of summer residents and gardeners.
Unfortunately, if you follow the available publications, it becomes clear that the preference in them is given not to our marsh cranberries, but to the American one, which has only one advantage in comparison with ours - large-fruited. In all other respects, judging by many years of practice and numerous reviews, American large-fruited cranberries are clearly inferior to our marsh.
Both types of cranberries differ very significantly both in terms and in the rates of passing through the phases of their development, and bog cranberry is significantly ahead of large-fruited.
In the first of them, by the end of April, flower buds open, and often by this time shoots have already begun to grow. Marsh cranberries usually bloom in late May, while American cranberries begin to bloom only in late June - early July. Accordingly, the beginning of ripening of marsh cranberries occurs at the end of August, and full - by the beginning of September.
In American cranberries, ripening occurs only at the end of September, and in some varieties, even in mid-October.
In our climatic conditions, American large-fruited cranberries take root very poorly. Cold snaps are especially difficult for her in the absence of snow cover in late autumn and late spring periods, when flower buds and even shoots of cranberries die. In addition to this, cranberries are easily affected by the "snow mold" caused by the mycelium of the fungus that develops under the snow during the snowmelt period.
To eliminate all these phenomena, American cranberries need to be frozen in ice at the beginning of winter until the plants are completely covered with ice. It is clear that for a summer resident or gardener who visits the site only on weekends, such work is simply unbearable, and as a result, the cranberries often freeze out. But even after a good winter, American cranberries are often damaged by late spring frosts, even when they are covered with lutrasil.
It should also be noted that even with the observance of agrotechnics, over time, American cranberries are noticeably smaller, approaching in size and yield to our marsh. Based on all this, the best cranberry for gardens in our climatic conditions is the marsh cranberry, bred by the Kostroma experimental station and having several varieties - Krasa Severa, Severyanka, Dar of Kostroma and others. They are in no way inferior to American cranberry varieties.
Species of marsh cranberries, very similar in quality, can be found in our area. Everyone who has collected this berry knows that there are bushes with very large fruits, as well as with fruits of a beautiful oval shape that differ from the usual ones.
Since the agricultural technology of the American cranberry is well known from the publications of the authors advocating for it, I believe that it is advisable to show the most interesting experience of summer residents and gardeners who have achieved high results in growing marsh cranberries.
The main feature of the new agricultural techniques for growing marsh cranberries - the creation of not just a bed, as is usually recommended by the authors, but an artificial swamp that exists with an appropriate regime of nutrition and moisture. Therefore, instead of the usually recommended boards and several layers of film, a protective trough of concrete or compacted clay is made to avoid water leakage, and instead of periodic irrigation from a hose, it is necessary to have a system of pipes and sprayers for surface moisture of the substrate during the entire growing season.
The scheme of the device of a mobile drain, created by the craftsman V. Terletsky, provides regulation of the water level in a trough containing well-decomposed peat of raised bogs with an acidity of an aqueous solution of pH 3-5 (see picture).
It is very useful to pour a layer of washed river sand (1-2 cm) over the peat and cover the surface with crushed sphagnum moss in order to create the most favorable conditions for the rooting, growth and development of marsh cranberries.
For the successful cultivation of cranberries and a good harvest, it is necessary to observe a number of requirements developed by experience. Particular attention should be paid to the selection of cuttings, which should have a length of 15-20 cm. They should be taken already in April (after the snow melts) from the most large-fruited and high-yielding plants.
Cuttings are planted so that only their tops with a length of no more than 2-3 cm remain on the surface.It can be planted according to stitching, tape or nesting patterns, but in all cases there should be 10-12 cm between the plants, and 30 cm between the rows. planting the bed with plants is completely filled with water, and after 1-2 days the level is gradually reduced to 20 cm.For better rooting of cuttings, the swamp bed is shaded with shields, frames, etc., but in cloudy and rainy weather, shading is removed. If these conditions are met, cuttings in the first year give an increase of up to 60 cm.
To accelerate the rooting of cuttings and the development of bushes, you can use fertilizers: superphosphate (100 g / 10 m²), manganese sulfate (150 g / 10 m²), potassium salt (75 g / 10 m²), ammonium nitrate (30 g / 10 m²). It is very effective in late October - early November to raise the water level, and for the winter to re-mulch the garden with sand or crushed sphagnum moss. In winter, you need to try to cover the plantings with a layer of at least 50 cm.
It is also pertinent to note that in order to obtain the first good harvest of cranberries in the second year, superphosphate (150 g / 10 m²) should be added in early spring, and a little later - ammonium nitrate (120 g / 10 m²) to accelerate the growth and development of shoots, and after harvesting again repeat mulching.
Obviously, with such agrotechnology of cultivation on the site of cranberries, conditions are created that are very close to natural conditions, and, unlike the American, swamp cranberries do not need to be frozen into ice. At the same time, special imported fertilizers are not required, and the agricultural technology itself requires almost no financial resources. Marsh cranberries begin to bear fruit already in the second year, and the berries, as a rule, reach a diameter of 1.5 cm, and the first harvest is most often 0.5-0.6 kg / m.
A significantly higher yield will be obtained when cuttings are taken from a four-petalled cranberry, which yields berries up to 1.8 cm in diameter.
For most Russians, cranberries are a low-growing semi-shrub with smallish and sour berries, growing naturally in large quantities on tussocks of sphagnum bogs and in damp deciduous woodlands, which is why this species is called swamp cranberry, or, scientifically, Oxycoccus palustris.
It is a creeping shrub from the lingonberry family with shoots 10–20 cm long. The leaves are small, ovate, with a pointed tip. The flowers are pink-red, they are collected in a brush on the stalks. Cranberries bloom in May – June, ripen in August – September.
Fruits of marsh cranberries are globular, dark red or crimson, weighing 0.5-1.9 grams. The pulp of the fruit is juicy and sour. The fruits keep well under the snow until spring. At the same time, they not only do not lose their useful qualities, but become sweeter. And they are preserved thanks to a natural preservative - benzoic acid.
Large cranberries (Oxycoccus macrocarpus) in our country it was introduced into the culture a long time ago, although its first industrial plantations were laid in the United States back in 1812, now it is one of the leading berry crops there. Currently, there are more than 200 varieties of this cranberry.
At the end of the 19th century, this cranberry successfully grew in the St. Petersburg Botanical Garden, but after the revolution, not a trace remained of it. And now in Russia she is experiencing a rebirth.
Large-fruited American cranberries are distinguished by a more powerful development of shrubs. It has creeping shoots 50 to 150 cm long and more, from which numerous fruiting upright shoots 15–20 cm high extend. Creeping shoots in places of contact with the ground easily form adventitious roots. A clear division of erect and creeping shoots is the most important difference between large-fruited cranberries and marsh cranberries.
It blooms from the second half of June to early July, i.e. 2-3 weeks later than marsh cranberry. In the middle lane, vegetative shoots freeze slightly, but everything recovers quickly.
Its berries are very large, round to pear-shaped in shape, light red to dark purple in color. The size of these berries is especially impressive, their diameter reaches 2 cm, so they can be mistaken for a cherry. And in terms of yield, it is far ahead of its Russian "relative". By the way, varieties of large-fruited cranberries differ markedly in the shape, color and size of the fruit.
Winter hardiness of large-fruited cranberries is lower than our marsh, because it formed in warmer climates. But under the snow cover, it can withstand frosts down to -20-25 ° C. But it is better to cover it with leaves or spruce branches in late autumn in case there is little snow. For the same reason, only early-ripening varieties of large-fruited cranberries should be grown so that the berries have time to ripen, and the plants - to prepare for winter.
Cranberries (both marsh and large-fruited) have a rich chemical composition and a wide range of medicinal uses. It is an excellent antiseptic; it has a stronger effect on Vibrio cholerae than lime water and a 5% solution of carbolic acid. Cranberries have long been considered an anti-cancer agent by the people.
Cranberry juice relieves thirst in malaria, relieves sore throat, flu, cough, urolithiasis and inflammation of the urinary tract.
When deciding to start a cranberry plantation, one must remember that cranberries are a durable plant. And although in the third year it will create a solid carpet, and in the fourth year it will begin to bear fruit, it will grow on the site for many decades. Therefore, you need to think in advance how this northern beauty will be combined with other garden plants.
Cranberries are planted in early spring, as soon as the soil thaws. It can be grown on any soil, even clayey. But for this, you first need to prepare a special "peat" bed. The place for it must be chosen open, sunny, located at the very bottom of the site close to the water. There they dig a trench of the required length, 1.5 meters wide, 0.5 meters deep, crushed stone, broken brick, etc. are placed on the bottom with a layer of 5–7 cm. If the soil is light sandy, then first a plastic wrap is placed on the bottom. Then the trench is filled with high-moor sphagnum sour peat in pure form or with the addition of sand in a ratio of 3: 1, abundantly wetting and mixing this soil, then it is tamped.
It should not be forgotten that the cultivation of cranberries requires acidic soils (pH 3.5-4.5). Therefore, if you have added sand, leaf or coniferous litter to the peat, then this mixture must be watered, having previously acidified the water with citric, oxalic, malic or acetic acid. If the site is located on a peat bog, then cranberries can be grown without special soil preparation. It is advisable to lay tarred boards, slate, roofing material or at least a double layer of plastic wrap on the walls before filling the trench so that perennial rhizome weeds do not penetrate the cranberry bed.
After the peat has settled, the edges of the trench are fixed with a croaker, boards, slate so that they rise 5–7 cm above the soil level and do not allow the heavier soil to slide into the trench. Usually, before planting, the peat is covered with a layer of coarse river sand 3-4 cm thick.
Some experts argue that swamp cranberries grow in culture and in poor, light, and moist soils. It works best at a groundwater level of 35–40 cm, and with sufficient and regular watering, even at a groundwater level of 50–70 cm.
On such a bed, you can grow both our marsh cranberries and American large-fruited. To do this, in a cranberry meadow, select plants with large berries and cut branches 15–20 cm long from them. Dig the seedlings into damp ground and plant them on a peat bed in early spring.
Large-fruited cranberries are propagated by erect shoots, which root more easily than creeping shoots. Cuttings 15–20 cm long are taken from plants in early spring or late autumn. Cuttings from the initial part of the shoot take root better.
Swamp cranberries are planted in three rows on a "peat" bed, and large-fruited in two rows of 2-3 plants in one hole. The distance between plants in the first case is 15–20 cm, in the second - 25–30 cm. The petioles are planted directly into the prepared soil to a depth of 11–12 cm. The tops of the cutting 2–3 cm long are left above the soil surface.
After planting, the plants must be watered abundantly and the soil must be constantly kept moist, especially in the first month after planting. Severely waterlogging the soil is also harmful.
It is important that the seedlings do not overgrow in the first summer during rooting. To keep moisture in the soil, it is better to cover the bed with bog moss, which remains wet for a long time. However, when the moss has already been removed, the topsoil for the winter can be covered with a layer of coarse river sand (5–6 cm). In early spring, it will protect the soil from sharp fluctuations in temperature at night and during the day, adversely affecting the rooting of large-fruited cranberries.
Large-fruited cranberries are easy to propagate as green cuttings in greenhouses. For this, during the period of intensive plant growth in June-July, cuttings 5–7 cm long are harvested and planted according to the 3x6 cm scheme, leaving one leaf above the surface. By the way, cranberries reproduce well by seeds.
It is necessary to feed the cranberries carefully, as they do not like excess fertilizers. 5 g of urea, 15–20 g of superphosphate and 10 g of potassium sulfate are added to 1 square meter of "peat" beds, distributing them in equal shares over three doses. At the same time, fertilizers containing nitrogen can be applied to the soil only until the end of July, and fertilizers containing chlorine should not be applied at all, replacing them with potassium sulfate.
But, when growing large-fruited cranberries, one should not forget that they came to us from countries with a warmer climate, so for the winter they need to be covered with coniferous spruce branches, and in winter they must be covered with snow.
Frosts are dangerous for cranberries during the growing season, since they can destroy a significant part of the buds and flowers. A young ovary is especially sensitive to them, which dies at a temperature of –1 ° С. Therefore, if there is a threat of frost, plantings must be protected by applying the usual methods to protect other berry crops - sprinkling, covering with film or covering material.
Unfortunately, large-fruited cranberries are affected by hydroniasis, which causes softening, wateriness and yellowing of the berries. In this case, the plants are treated with a 1% solution of copper sulfate five weeks before the berries ripen.
Large-fruited cranberries are also remarkable as an ornamental crop. In the spring, during the growth of young shoots, its plantings appear light green; during flowering, they take on the appearance of a pale pink carpet. And in September, when its leaves and fruits acquire an orange-burgundy color, they acquire a spectacle of a unique beauty.
But, praising the large-fruited American cranberry, one should not forget that our marsh cranberry is distinguished by stable fruiting, excellent frost resistance, it has a shorter growing season, and its berries are stored better.
"Ural gardener", No. 46, 2010
Photo: Tatiana Kurlovich, Maxim Minin
Garden cranberries are grown from seeds and cuttings. The seed method of reproduction is used mainly in breeding work.
Cuttings can be planted directly in open ground. They are harvested during the budding period and the beginning of shoot growth - in the first half of May. The best rooting and the ability to form shoots have cuttings harvested from last year's creeping shoots. Cut them into a length of 9-12 cm using a pruner. Harvested cuttings can be stored in a cool room in moist moss for 30-50 days. When planting on the surface of the soil, you need to leave the tops no more than 2-3 cm.
To grow large-fruited cranberries in the garden, artificial substrates are created: peat 10-15 cm thick is poured and sprinkled with sand 2-3 cm thick. The sand helps to retain moisture in the soil and prevents the growth of weeds. Cuttings or rooted plants are planted according to the scheme 30 × 30 cm, 2-3 in a nest. After planting, the site is watered on the same day until it is completely saturated with water. In order to grow cranberries in a garden plot as strong as possible, it is important to fight weeds, especially in the early years of laying the plot before the cranberry carpet closes. In the beginning of winter, a bed of cranberries is flooded with water. They do it this way: when the top layer of the soil freezes a little, pour water in a layer of 2 cm, wait until it freezes, and pour the next layer, and so on until the plants are completely frozen into the ice. In the spring, the water is drained.
Cranberries are called northern lemons for their pronounced sour taste. The large-fruited cranberry shrub differs from the marsh cranberry by the presence of two types of shoots: erect and creeping. Erect shoots are thicker than those of marsh cranberries, and creeping shoots develop up to two meters in length in one season. It is from them that the roots are formed, which give life to a new upright shoot. Flowers are formed just on such erect shoots, berries appear from the flowers. Flowering time - June-early July.
Large berries of these varieties can reach more than 2 cm in diameter
The list is not entirely complete, but reflects the main trends in cranberry cultivation and cultivation of northern berries on private plots:
Here is such a beauty - Red Star cranberries
This is how cranberries are grown in the fields in the Arkhangelsk region
Cranberries are a valuable vitamin berry that grows in sphagnum bogs in conditions where most other berry crops cannot grow. In addition to the marsh cranberry, which is familiar to the inhabitants of the Russian North, which has a record winter hardiness, there are more capricious garden varieties with two-centimeter berries - large-fruited American cranberries, suitable for growing in regions with mild climates.
In the northern regions of Russia, many hectares of wetlands are occupied by vast wild thickets of marsh cranberries, which can easily withstand severe winters with forty-degree frosts.
Marsh cranberry grows in abundance on peat bogs in northern and central Russia
The cultivation of cultural forms of this wonderful medicinal berry began only in the middle of the last century at the Kostroma Experimental Station, where several very successful highly winter-resistant varieties with berries twice or three times larger than those of the original natural species were created. Some of them are not inferior in berry size to the best American varieties, significantly surpassing them in frost resistance.
|Name||Berry size (g)||Productivity (kg / sq. M)||Coloring berries||Ripening period|
|The beauty of the north||1,5||1,4||Light red||Late|
|Gift of Kostroma||1,9||1,0||Dark red||Middle|
In North America, another type of cranberry grows - the large-fruited cranberry, which differs from the European marsh cranberry in denser berries, the presence of vertical fruiting shoots, a longer growing season and less winter hardiness.
Large-fruited American cranberry differs from marsh cranberry in denser berries
It was introduced into culture much earlier, already at the beginning of the nineteenth century. There are many of its varieties with large berries, the earliest and winter-hardy of them can be grown in Russian conditions: from the Moscow region and to the south.
|Name||Berry size (diameter, mm)||Productivity (kg / sq. M)||Coloring berries||Ripening period|
|Ben Lear||18–22||1,6–2,0||Dark burgundy||Very early (late August - early September)|
|Pilgrim||20–24||2,0–2,5||Dark red||Medium (late September - early October)|
|Mc Farlin, sometimes mistakenly written as McFarlane||16–24||1,4–2,0|
In the wild, cranberries grow exclusively in sphagnum bogs, which are a completely unique ecosystem with very specific characteristics:
In nature, cranberries grow only on raised sphagnum bogs.
Peat moss sphagnum is a unique natural antiseptic, the basis of the ecosystem of sphagnum bogs
Accordingly, the most suitable for the cultivation of garden cranberries will be plots in peatlands. This is the only type of soil that does not require any special preparation for planting cranberries. You can immediately mark the beds and plant.
Peat bog with close groundwater - ideal for growing cranberries
Heavy clay soils are completely unsuitable. In such areas, cultivation of cranberries is possible only in artificial trenches filled with peat. In lowlands with clay soil, when making trenches, the necessary slope and drainage should be provided so that water does not accumulate after heavy rains or melting snow. Unlike permeable "breathing" peat, waterlogged clay is like a cement slurry, the roots suffocate and die.
Cranberries cannot grow on heavy clay - the roots will suffocate
Light sandy soils can be considered suitable only if there is a possibility of daily watering. They are well permeable to air and roots, but dry out too quickly. On sandy soils, a large amount of high-moor peat is required to increase the moisture capacity and achieve the desired acidity. For better moisture retention, it is advisable to cover planting trenches for cranberries with plastic wrap in several layers.
Sandy soils are easily root permeable but do not retain water at all
Cranberries need very acidic soil (pH 3.0 - 5.5)
Other plants from the heather family have similar requirements to cranberries: lingonberries, blueberries, blueberries, crowberry, wild rosemary, rhododendrons. The closest needs are for cranberries, blueberries and crowberries, and in nature they often grow in the neighborhood on bog bumps, in places well-lit by the sun. In the same swamps, wild rosemary grows, as well as berry herbaceous perennials from the Rosaceae family - cloudberry and prince. Blueberries are also hygrophilous, but they prefer shady forest areas. Lingonberry loves drier places and good lighting, in nature it grows in rather dry pine forests on sandy soils, therefore it is better not to plant it in the garden on the same bed with cranberries because of the different irrigation regime. For rhododendrons, good drainage is required, they do not tolerate excess moisture. In natural communities, all these plants are companions of conifers (spruces, pines, larches, common juniper). When planting them in the garden, it is also advisable to add a little soil from the coniferous forest with wild heathers to ensure the presence of the necessary mycorrhiza in the soil - special underground fungi that favor root growth.
You should not plant cranberries directly under the crown of a tree: firstly, it needs good illumination, and secondly, powerful tree roots dry the soil very much.
When choosing neighbors for cranberries, it must be borne in mind that its long creeping shoots in good conditions grow rapidly, covering the soil surface with a solid green carpet.
Under favorable conditions, cranberry thickets are very durable and remain in one place for many decades.
The high acidity of the soil required for cranberries (pH 3.0 - 5.5) is ensured by using large amounts of sour high-moor peat during planting. Low-lying peat does not have the desired acidifying effect due to its insufficient acidity.
Highland peat differs from lowland peat in a lighter color and coarse-fiber structure.
|Horse||Brown-brown||Consists of large, coarse, well-defined plant fibers||Very high (pH 3.0 - 4.5)|
|Lowland||The black||Almost homogeneous, composed of small particles||Low (pH 5.0 - 5.5)|
On all soils, except for natural peat bogs, cranberries are planted in specially prepared trenches with peat soil. The order of work is as follows:
First, for a cranberry garden, you need to dig a trench half a meter deep
The cranberry trenches are filled with sour high-moor peat
After planting cranberries, it is advisable to sprinkle the surface of the peat trench with a thin layer of river sand
It is impossible to use crushed limestone and other similar materials that reduce the acidity of the soil for trenching and drainage.
Planting cranberries is best in spring, so that the plants have time to root well over the summer. The first month after planting, you need to water every day.
The main problem when growing cranberries is maintaining the required acidity of the soil (pH 3.0 - 5.5). To control acidity, a special indicator litmus paper is needed, which is sold in garden centers and pet stores in the aquarium supplies section. To find out the acidity, a small amount of soil is mixed with distilled water, a strip of indicator paper is immersed in this liquid and its color is compared with the control scale on the package.
Litmus indicator paper for determining the acidity of water and soil
The water for watering cranberries also needs to be controlled. First, it must be acidic enough, like the soil. Any acid can be used to acidify water, from vinegar essence to car battery electrolyte.
Safety precautions: always add a small amount of acid to a container with a lot of water, and nothing else. Concentrated acids are dangerous and cause burns if they come into contact with the skin.
Secondly, the water should not be too hard. The most favorable soft water from rains, melting snow, from some natural lakes. Many wells and artesian springs have very hard water with a high lime content, which is not suitable for watering cranberries.
Water the cranberries regularly, with soft acidic water, preventing the soil from drying out. In areas with deep groundwater (more than half a meter from the soil surface) in the heat, daily watering is required.
It is categorically unacceptable to apply manure, compost, bird droppings and other nitrogen-rich fertilizers under the cranberries. From organic matter, only peat is well suited to it. The first year or two after planting, no fertilizers are required at all. In the future, only mineral fertilizers are applied in very small doses, only in spring and in the first half of summer (until mid-July). Approximate annual rate per 1 square meter (distributed in equal shares over 3 receptions):
No chemical treatments for pests and diseases are needed for cranberries.
Marsh cranberries winters well without additional shelter. Planting large-fruited cranberries can be slightly insulated with coniferous spruce branches.
On industrial plantations in regions without winter thaws, cranberries are sometimes frozen in ice for the winter. With the onset of persistent frosts below -5 ° C, the plantings are poured with water with a layer of 2-3 centimeters, after freezing, they are repeated so that the entire plants are in the ice. In the spring, excess water is discharged into the drainage system.
During the flowering period, which begins in the first half of June, cranberries may suffer from frost. For protection, flowering plantations are covered with agrofibre or plastic wrap at night. In the afternoon, the shelter is removed.
During flowering, cranberries need frost protection.
Cranberries propagate vegetatively (by cuttings) and seeds.
This is the easiest way. In June, cuttings about 10 centimeters long from young growing shoots should be cut and planted on a peat bed, leaving no more than 2-3 leaves above the surface. Water daily, keeping the soil from drying out. Can be covered with foil to maintain moisture. You can plant it immediately in a permanent place, 2-3 cuttings in 1 hole. Over the summer, the cuttings take root successfully.
The easiest way to propagate cranberries is by rooting green cuttings.
In the absence of ready-made seedlings or cuttings, cranberries can also be grown from seeds. Varietal characteristics during seed propagation are rarely preserved, but plants grown from seeds are better adapted to local climatic conditions.
The procedure is as follows:
growing varietal is easy, the main thing to remember: she loves very acidic peat soil, cranberries have superficial roots, they do not go deeper than 10-15 cm, so you can make sour ridges
To date, I have a garden bed with cranberries measuring 40 cm by a meter. In principle, the plant is undemanding, the only condition is acidic soil and plant it on a bed without weeds, because getting them out of cranberries is problematic - they are pulled out, as a rule, together with cranberries. As the cranberries drop twigs, which then take root upon contact with the ground, forming a solid rug.
I grew cranberries a few years ago, grew well (loves acidic soil, watering and partial shade), but I have not seen flowering and berries. Variety "Pilgrimm", subscribed to Interflora. I parted with him without hesitation.
Cranberries are easily grown in low-lying swampy areas with acidic peaty soil and close groundwater, it is in such conditions that it grows in the wild. These inconveniences, unsuitable for other crops, can easily be converted into commercial cranberry plantations. If the initial characteristics of the site do not suit its requirements, the cultivation of cranberries requires expensive and time-consuming special measures and may be of interest only for amateur gardening, as an exotic curiosity.