Gardening in Langley: Goji is not suited to Wet Coast

Dear Anne,

I have four Goji plants that I started from seed in 2014 (West Coast Seeds).

I transplanted them to soil in the spring. They grow quite well for a while then one or two little branches turn brown and shrivel up. They are watered along with everything else in the garden with an oscillating sprinkler.

They have had lots of lime, but nothing actually measured. Any ideas to keep them healthy?

Jim Ormesher, Tsawassen

Dear Jim,

Goji berries hate wet, soggy soil. They also need to be grown in a sunny spot, though in Tsawassen, this isn’t likely to be your problem. In this climate they don’t have any pest or disease problems (as far as is known at present).

But the dislike of wet soil could be an issue. They are grown commercially in Tibet, Mongolia and parts of China for the health-giving berries. But apparently they are also planted on the edges of deserts to prevent the desert creeping further in.

 Peat moss, compost and manure aren’t recommended for use with them because these amendments hold onto moisture.

When Goji berry plants are first put into the soil, they do need water to get settled-in. But the soil should be very well-drained so that water moves through. Once they put their taproot down, they’re said to be very drought-resistant.

I suspect the oscillating sprinkler and the grass clippings are causing root rot problems in your Goji plants. Grass clippings hold onto water and your clippings will be especially moist since water is being added via the sprinkler.

I wonder how long you water for and for how many days in the week. It could be that grass clippings aren’t needed at all.

The lime is a very good idea. The alkalinity Goji plants need is very high, up to 8.6Ph. It might be helpful to find out just how alkaline your soil is now. Garden centres sell soil tests.

Raspberries grow well in much of B.C. but do need some care. – Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance

Dear Anne,

I have a question about the ‘new’ Tulameen raspberry canes my brother bought.

He lives in Kamloops.

He’s wondering if he plants the Tulameen canes next to his other raspberry bushes if they will cross-pollinate.

Should he plant the new canes separately further from his other canes?

Judy, e-mail

Dear Judy,

Cross-pollination isn’t likely if ‘Tulameen’ is planted close to other raspberries.

Mainly raspberries are self-fertile although they produce more raspberries if insects pollinate them as well.

In any case, cross pollination wouldn’t affect the first generation of raspberries because fruit characteristics stem from the parent cane that produced the raspberry.

So regardless what the insects did, every raspberry from the Tulameen canes would be a Tulameen in looks and taste.

Other kinds planted nearby would also be true to their own variety.

But it still might be best to plant Tullameen separately. Tulameen is an early fall fruiter which should be completely cut down to the ground in late winter.

June-fruiting raspberries usually have old canes cut in fall and new canes retained.

This is unlikely to be a problem at first.

 But since raspberry canes sucker far and wide, different kinds planted close together can get thoroughly mixed up which could make pruning and care more complicated.

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