If you love midsummer raspberries and August blackberries, you’ll love loganberries. These luscious gems are the hybrid offspring of two of summer’s favorite berries, making the loganberry an explosion of flavor on one accessible plant. Want to learn more about it (and how to grow your own)? Read on!
Wild, thorny blackberries are difficult (and often painful) to gather. Their flavor is well worth a few scratches, but when planning a berry yard, blackberries can be unfriendly companions. Raspberries are easier to tame, as they’re gentler, thornless plants.
Mingle the two, and you have the loganberry (Rubus × loganobaccus). Its berries taste like raspberries that have gone wild, or like blackberries that have fruited in sweet June instead of vibrant August.
Once this hybrid hit the gardening world in the late 19th century, growers began refining it to fit their needs.
Interestingly, the original loganberries were quite thorny. There are still thorny varieties of loganberry available, but they’re not as popular as the thornless types. Try the traditional Rubus loganberry if you’re planning to plant a tasty border wall at one end of your yard. These prickly brambles are ideal barrier hedges, so they’ll keep unwanted visitors out while providing you with tasty snacks.
For gentler berries, choose a member of the popular American Thornless variety. These friendly bushes are perfect for yards belonging to grandparents and parents, since little, careless hands will undoubtedly grab for fruit when playing in the yard. They’re also the best choice for large-scale berry picking.
These beautiful thornless loganberries keep your arms and hands scratch-free while you fill baskets full of berries.
Most growers start loganberries from young plants. If you’re looking for loganberry plants, they’re easy to find at farm and garden stores. Don’t worry if you can’t find any, as these aren’t the only growing option. Many gardeners start their own loganberry bushes at home from seeds or cuttings.
Buying young loganberry canes to plant in fall or spring the easiest way to get started. Like raspberries and blackberries, loganberry plants can be planted in almost any season. They spread quickly, so make sure you give them plenty of room.
Loganberries are also tolerant of a wide variety of different soils. Like most berries, they tend to produce slightly acidic soil, and they’ll produce well in partial shade or full sun. These berries are versatile when it comes to location, but don’t crowd them. Make sure to plant young canes or cuttings about 6 ft apart to allow them to spread.
Water the young plants as soon as you put them in the ground, and mulch with a light layer of composted manure.
Starting loganberries from seed is a long process. This is because the seeds need in-ground cold stratification in order to germinate. Additionally, don’t expect them to germinate within the first year.
To start loganberries from seed, scatter them in cold, damp compost in the autumn. Then leave the area undisturbed until the second spring. If you’ve done your job well, a few of your loganberry seeds will have sprouted.
If it sounds like long, dispiriting work to you, you’re right. But don’t worry: there’s an easier way to propagate these berry bushes once you have a few.
The easiest way to propagate your own plants is by layering them. Layering is an easy way of rooting out brambles like loganberries, blackberries, and even some raspberries. Simply select a low-growing, healthy cane and bury the tip 6 inches deep in the earth.
Keep the cane attached to the parent plant as you layer it. In addition, this type of cultivation should be done in late July, so you can leave the cane buried all through autumn and winter. In the spring, the cane will have rooted out and you can detach it from the host plant and move it to a new location.
Loganberries have a lot in common with their blackberry parent plants. They’re hardy, needing little in the way of care to produce abundant berry crops.
For best results, mulch the canes with composted manure each fall and prune away older canes. Loganberries produce best on 1- and 2-year-old canes. Those over 5 years old should be pruned back to make room for new growth.
Loganberries are heavy producers, and can get weighed down very quickly. If you’d like to keep more berries off the ground and in your baskets, plant your canes near strong fencing or against a wall.
These berries don’t need any encouragement to grow on supports like fences and walls. Just make sure there is a sturdy fence, trellis, or wall nearby and your loganberry bush will do the rest all on its own.
Almost all berries are prone to attacks of one kind or another, and loganberries are no different. Although they’re resistant to a lot of pests, there are a few minor issues to watch out for while growing them.
Aphids have been known to attack loganberry canes, especially in mid spring and early summer. These insects prefer warm, but not too-hot temperatures, and can be devastating to deal with.
If you notice sticky, aphid residue on the underside of your loganberries, fight back with Insecticidal soap. Spray the undersides of leaves to coat the aphids and dissolve their soft bodies. You can also look into adding ladybugs to your garden to take care of this issue for you.
Keep an eye out for grayish-purple splotches on leaves and fruit. If these appear, cut the canes back down to the ground immediately and burn the infected cuttings. When the plants begin growing back, spray them thoroughly with a copper fungicide (which safe for organic gardening). The spray will prevent reinfection.
Slugs and snails love munching sweet loganberries—because they’re scrumptious! If you see these pests around your plants, just sprinkle them with salt, or set out beer traps.
A beer trap is just a jar filled with beer and buried 2/3s of the way into the ground. Slugs and snails are attracted to the scent of the beer, fall into the trap, and drown. Remember to clean and refresh your traps about once a week so they don’t get too disgusting.
Let the berries ripen to a deep wine red before harvesting. Keep in mind that loganberries don’t ripen all at once. Like raspberries and blackberries, loganberries ripen gradually over a month-long period.
In fact, depending on your zone, loganberries may ripen as early as June or as late as August.
When it comes to harvesting, avoid heavy picking after rainstorms, if you can. Damp berries spread mold quickly when handled.
These berries can stay good for up to a week in the fridge. Beyond that, you’ll want to preserve them instead.
Try using fresh loganberries in place of raspberries or blackberries in muffins or pies. Additionally, you can add a handful to homemade sangria, or just snack on them straight from the plant.
To freeze your loganberries, spread them out on a baking sheet and set them in the freezer overnight. Then pour the berries into labeled, freezer-safe bags for long-term storage.
Frozen loganberries are absolutely delicious on yogurt or in smoothies. Their high levels of vitamins C and K, as well as manganese, folate, and antioxidants can really boost the nutrient density of any meal!
It almost goes without saying that loganberries make great jams and jellies. Furthermore, their sweet flavor and large, juicy fruits make them easier to process than both blackberries and raspberries.
Try making loganberry syrup to pour on cinnamon, whole-wheat pancakes in the middle of january. Or blend some loganberries into your butter for a fantastic waffle spread.
These versatile berries are seriously a prepper’s dream come true.
With their high vitamin c and anti-microbial content, loganberries are also a great addition to your home medicine chest. Try smashing the berries into a messy-looking but deeply nourishing face mask. To do this, just slather crushed loganberries all over your face (avoiding the eyes). Let this sit for 20 minutes, then wash off with lukewarm water.
You can also use smashed loganberries mixed with plain yogurt for a skin-softening, cleansing mask that can be used daily.
Loganberries can also be blended together with elderberries in medicinal syrups. Their vitamins and antioxidants boost many health benefits of traditional remedies. Additionally stick some of your loganberries in the dehydrator to pop into winter teas along with rosehips, elderflowers, bee balm, and peppermint.
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Sometimes, we forget that the world is full of berries. There are so many berry options besides the few popular choices that loganberries and haskap are often overlooked… but they shouldn’t be! These versatile, hardy, healthy berries can brighten up your summer.
Whether you add them to a field of other berries to boost variety, or tuck just one beside your house, loganberries will make the summer happier and tastier. Give them a try!