Gardening

Grow your own Goji berries

If you like goji berries, I encourage you to grow this shrub, either directly in the soil of your organic garden or in pots in the urban garden, so that you can enjoy these nutritious fruits grown by you.

Goji berries are the fruit of the Lycium barbarum shrub . This shrub, the lycia, is a variety native to the Himalayas that belongs to the same botanical family as tomatoes , peppers or potatoes , Solanaceae . Traditionally this shrub has been cultivated in parts of Asia such as China due to the nutritional properties of Goji berries .

Goji berries can be taken alone, they are also added fresh to fruit juices, desserts and sweets, etc. We can also let them dry to be able to eat them throughout the year.

How to grow goji berries

> We can start by incorporating this shrub to the vegetables and aromatics that we grow in our garden from seeds , layers, cuttings or stakes. In any case, we will start sowing or planting from the end of winter.

To reproduce the lycia by means of seeds we only have to prepare the seedbeds . Seed germination is relatively easy even if you don’t have a lot of experience. To facilitate this work, let the seeds soak the night before preparing the seedbeds. In a period of 2 to 4 weeks, the seedlings will have germinated and appeared. Keep the seedbeds in semi-shade and once the first seedlings have sprouted, you can place the seedbeds in an area with more light. You can also sow the seeds directly where you want to grow the lycia, either in the ground or in pots. Of course, keep in mind that it can reach up to 4 meters in height and that it has deep and extensive roots.

goji berry benefits > Place this plant in a location that is well lit, a space where it can receive sunlight for at least 6 hours a day.

> Lycia is a shrub that adapts very well to different types of soils, being able to grow well in both alkaline and acidic soils .

> It is essential that the soil has a good contribution of organic matter, add worm humus or compost once a year to improve and maintain the fertility of the soil.

> Make sure that the soil in which you grow the lycia is loose and well aerated and that it has very good drainage to avoid excess water accumulating and causing damage to the roots.

> This shrub can resist strong winds very well, in fact, we can use it in the orchard or garden as a windbreak to protect other plants more susceptible to damage by winds.

> Do not overdo it with the waterings because it does not hold well the continuous excess water. It is preferable to stay short with the waterings, since the Lycian withstands droughts quite well.

> From the first year onwards, pruning can be carried out on the bush that favors better flowering and better fruit harvests in the next season. Unlike perennials , this deciduous shrub will lose almost all of its foliage during the winter. But do not worry, at the beginning of spring it will return its characteristic oval leaves, later flowers and finally the berries, which at first will be green and as they mature they will turn red. .

> Lycia is resistant to cold, being able to withstand frost and low temperatures down to -20 ºC. As for the optimal maximum temperatures, these would be around 35 ºC.

> As for pests, this shrub is quite rustic and holds up very well, however, it can suffer from snail and slug pests .

> During the growth of this shrub, it might be necessary to place some stakes or guides to favor its development.

> The berries are harvested from August to October and it is done taking care not to touch them so that they maintain all their properties. Harvesting is done by carefully shaking the branches and collecting the berries in a net or fine mesh.

Nutritional and medicinal properties of goji berries

Goji berries have immunostimulating, hypotensive, hepatoprotective, hypoglycemic, and hematopoietic properties.

These berries are part of both traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine due to their benefits.

These fruits provide us with antioxidants such as carotenoids and vitamin C and minerals such as calcium, zinc, iron or phosphorus.

Goji berries promote longevity, help us improve blood circulation, can help regulate blood sugar levels, take care of vision and tone the kidneys and liver.

Taking these berries during pregnancy and lactation is discouraged.

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