Boysenberries

ABz5bJuly 2, 2012

So I just had 2 fresh Boysen's off the vine in the old back yard. First ever. I think I will be adding a few more here at the expense of the 28 blackbery bushes I have. I only have one word for these "Phenomenol." Best tasting berry I have had yet and thats saying something.

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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

How many years have you had them? They are rated for either zone 6 or 7 minimum depending on where you look so I am surprised they are not dead. Or maybe your last winter(s) were milder than usual. I would watch out for long-term hardiness problems.

Scott

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 12:18PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Oh, I just remembered that the original thorny Boysen is in fact much hardier than the more common thornless version. So I am guessing you have the thorned one and you can ignore my previous comment. Probably many more people would be growing the thorny version if there was not this confusion.

Scott

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 12:50PM
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ABz5b

Yeah I have the original Thorny type. Actually in a zone 6a Per the USDA website. Although Stark bros lists me as a 5b. This is the 2nd year Ive had them,been growing them in containers along the back fence line. Will be adding a few more of these after this mornings taste test.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 1:58PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I'm also growing many of these hybrid berries, there are quite a few excellent ones. Cascade, Siskiyou, and Kotata are all part raspberry and very tasty. The only dud I tried of these hybrids was Tayberry, they were too sour and went from sour to rotting/dropping with no real ripe window.

Scott

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 2:38PM
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ABz5b

Ooh thanks for the heads up on the Tayberry. That was my next planned expansion of the berry patch. Wont be planting those now. Was super impressed with the quality of the boysens. They were pretty spectacular.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 5:30PM
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riverman1

I planted some last summer and I'm harvesting a fair number of berries this year. Fast growers and huge berries. To me they taste just like the wild blackberries that grow around here only without the viny thorns.

RM

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 7:43PM
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Bradybb(wa8)

I hope that's not the case with all Tayberries.I planted one a couple months ago and was looking forwards to it being tasty.Oh well,I'll know in a week or two. Brady

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 9:59PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Brady, I think my heat may be no good for the Tays. They were bred in Scotland which has a climate more like yours so they may in fact be good for you.

Scott

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 10:34PM
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johnnycom_gw

My Tayberries in coastal Northern California are delicious.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 10:40PM
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bob_z6(6b/7a SW CT)

This is my first year growing a boysenberry (thorny) and I'm very happy with it.

It was the first blackberry to ripen, as Prime Jan floricanes are close behind, but much smaller, a but dry and not very tasty. Triple Crown, Apache, and Ouchita all still have a ways to go.

So far, as you can see in the picture (from Saturday), I've picked them when they are not ripe enough. I've been a bit nervous about birds, as they (or squirrels) have gotten the majority of most other berries in the yard (raspberries, blueberry, strawberries, gooseberries, and currants), except for some potted plants which I consolidated and netted. So I've been a bit aggressive in picking these, but even so, they have tasted pretty good. My daughters find them too sour, but I suspect they would like them if I got some really ripe ones.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 11:39PM
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melikeeatplants

Marionberry is my favorite that I grow. Not sure how hardy it is but really sweet and flavorful.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 11:57PM
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larry_gene

Boysens are tops. They don't ship or mechanically pick well so are mostly grown for u-pick, home garden, or commercial jams and jellies.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 12:19AM
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ABz5b

Yeah mine were definately ripe, they had a combination sweet/ tart flavor that is extremely tasty. They also like a previous poster stated ripened before any other berry in my patch which include Anne, Caroline, Heritage, Prime Jan, Prime Ark, Chickasaw, Triple crown, and Chester. still a few weeks away on the earliest of those. On the Boysens im currently only sporting 3 potted plants which I am now in the process of expanding after this mornings taste test lol. In fact my oldest son stated after I let him pick one that he was no longer going to make fun of my trips to the "Plant store" as he stated. Even asked when we could get a few more of them lol.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 1:12AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

melike, I agree that Marions are the best. But they are not even hardy in zone 7, I gave up on them several years ago. I have not found a reliable replacement of that flavor but I did get a berry off the new Onyx variety this year and it was in the same ballpark. I think the raspberry genes is what makes many of the redder blackberries more hardy so those red guys are more likely to make it through colder winters.

Scott

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 10:14AM
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melikeeatplants

Scott,

Sounds like you've tried them all but Ollalie is a really nice berry as well. If I had to guess you probably tried it at some point and it couldn't take the colder winters.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 6:45PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I never tried Ollalie but its one of the least hardy ones. There are several dozen recent releases without any hardiness data and I am trying several now.

Scott

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 7:20PM
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ABz5b

I tried a few of the color pictured above. One of my twins face puckered up so quick it was rather funny. Amazing how a few days make a significant difference in the flavor of the berries. I did indeed pick up a few extra boysenberry plants as the initial taste taste was that amazing. now have 5 boysen's and depending on productivity I may add a full row.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 11:34AM
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tyler_j(6a)

I just tasted my first Tayberry and thought it was great!! I think I will add Boysenberries also from reading this thread.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 8:25AM
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Bradybb(wa8)

Oh good,thanks Scott,I hope it's a geographical thing.What color do Tayberries get when ripe?Here is a picture of my small crop. Thanks,Brady

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 10:02PM
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ABz5b

Boysens from trial and error, get darker than the above picture. They are not fully ripe till they are soft and a purplish black color. I can now tell by touch if it is ripe. The drupelets will expand when they become ripe. Think Plump.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 11:45PM
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glenn_10 zone 4b/5a NewBrunswick,Can.

I just checked my Tayberry today which was planted last year,and took some pics. They start sizing up and coloring very early here at 2 weeks after the strawberries.They are a very large berry. I will let you know what they taste like when ripe in a day or so.

Glenn

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 7:36PM
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glenn_10 zone 4b/5a NewBrunswick,Can.

here is another pic with thumb for size comparison,It may not look like much but I have a pretty big thumb(I'm 6 foot 220 pounds).Maybe I'll do another size comparison,when I harvest them I will get my little 3 year old to hold them up hahahaha.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 7:44PM
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ABz5b

here is a pic of the ripe boysens I picked today.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 10:36PM
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ABz5b

and the comparison photo for size they get up to 2 inches.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 10:38PM
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murkwell

Larry, where can one U-pick boysenberries?

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 2:30PM
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larry_gene

I've never done it, but here is the 4-county scoop:

http://www.tricountyfarm.org/farms/berries/boysenberries

http://www.tricountyfarm.org/map?field_county_value_many_to_one=All&name=boysenberries&title=&body=&city=&postal_code=

http://clark.wsu.edu/volunteer/mg/gm_tips/GrowersGuide.html
(looks like two boysen spots east of La Center)

We always have on hand the hardcopy of the Tri-County farm Fresh produce guide, don't know if Clark County has the equivalent.

We will be u-picking rasps no later than this weekend, may get some boysens if ripe (Oregon City area).

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 12:44AM
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ABz5b

Just google u pick boysenberries portland or, I think 4-6 different locations popped up.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 11:03AM
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ABz5b

Fruiting season on the boysens starts about July 1 and lasts 4-5 weeks depending on the heat.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 11:09AM
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glenn_10 zone 4b/5a NewBrunswick,Can.

Just at my first tay berry today as was pleasantly surprised with the flavor.To my taste it has a fruity pie cherry flavor which I found very good.If the boysens are this good I would like try some here.Is any one growing them in zone 5a?The coldest temps here in winter get to about -18F(-28C)can boysens handle that temp?

Glenn

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 10:11PM
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larry_gene

Caneberries here in Oregon are weeks later than much of the country.

The produce guide mentioned above actually has 16 Boysen locations. This is berry country, after all.

Zone 5 is pushing it for Boysens.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 12:24AM
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ABz5b

Ive heard about people growing them in zone 5, one zone below mine. But they would have to be protected with a significant amount of mulch. Mine are in pots and I wheel them into the garage when they go dormant.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 12:27AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I have grown berries not hardy in my zone. With the trailing types you just let them grow along the ground in the first year, cover them in winter, and then put those canes on the trellis in the second year. If you have a lot of berries it ends up being a lot of work since you need a thorough covering. Even one chunk of a long cane sticking out will be the end of the rest of that cane since one spot dying kills all the rest.

I decided to order a single thorny Boysen from Berries Unlimited, I never heard of the place but they shipped me some good looking berries last week. I also got some Newberries from them, a new Boysen-like berry. The hardiness of Newberry is not known.

Scott

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 9:39AM
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lsoh

ABz5b,

Sorry if this question appears twice. I attempted to post a similar message a couple of hours ago but I don't see it.

How do you trellis your berries in a pot? How large are your pots?

Thanks.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 1:16PM
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ABz5b

Those pots are 14 inch,both round and square. Depends on the deal. Those sizes work initially but in the end you need 16-18 inches at least with a depth of at least 14 inches preferable more. The gal at the nursury down the road from me recomended 8-10 gallon containers. She keeps her Triple crowns in those. I will be repotting these to the 8-10 gallon containers starting next spring as the growth of these plants this year has been very good. One of the boysens has 8 new canes all at least 3-3 1/2 feet long. The canes in the first year will grow along the ground in a crazy pattern so you could easily cover them up. I'll post a picture of the ones that dont have the new canes on a trellis, so you can see the canes.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 5:04PM
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Woodyorch

Boysenberries have always been my favorite since first eating one of Cordillia Knott's pies over 50 years ago. I'm not sure I understand the zone 6-7 comments, unless the point was the coldest possible locations. I'm in Southern California where they got their commercial start. They grow vigorously and are very productive here, year after year. First year production for a thornless I planted here at the beach was 22 pounds. It's numerous primocanes grew in a band along a fence between 3-6', and 20 feet to either side of the crown. Best to let the fruit ripen until as dark as a blackberry, but still have their gloss. A pair of active Somali cats here keeps squirrels & birds from doing any noticeable damage in the orchard.
The image shows the fruit remaining at the very end of the vine after the first 6 pounds were already picked. Often in seasons like this year when it is cool and cloudy many mornings beyond June, there will be a smaller second set just following the first sometimes 10-20% the volume of the first.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 2:05AM
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ABz5b

Amazing picture, they look well tended and vigorous. Hope my 5 plants reach that production level. Ive noticed in my cooler zone 6a that they started ripening July 1 and they are still ripening up at small intervals. Yours are thornless which would make trellising easier definately :)

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 12:32PM
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Woodyorch

Oh yes, those traditional thorns. There were some farms here many years ago where they gave you a box and you picked your own, as much as you could put in that box. What a mess! They were half juice under their own weight on the bumpy ride home, but they tasted Better than anything, we were kids, and it was summer. Our forearms were shredded to the elbows and that was just fine too.

The later ripening you mention makes sense. A lot of great berries grow up your way. Yours will be ripping next year. Plant growth itself may not be as voluminous the first season as down here, but once to comparable size/number of canes, the fruit volumes shouldn't be any different. If you have room to let them, they can be monster producers.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 12:36AM
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ABz5b

Good to hear. As a kid we picked wild berries by my grandfathers property and I seem to remember getting my clothes a little shredded. If minor thorns is all I have to worry about then we are in darn good shape :)

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 1:31AM
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ABz5b

I'm going to see how well they hold up this winter (only the second winter) If they hold up well I think I'm planning a whole row of them. My lot is 260 feet deep so I have all sorts of room :)

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 3:01PM
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