What is red and round and used to treat kidney infections? Well the answer is a super fruit called the cranberry. Consuming this fruit in either juice or berry form is believed to changed the pH of the kidney environment. This change is what keeps the infection at bay.
Growing your own cranberries is not as difficult as what you may think. The key to this process is the pH of the soil. Cranberries love an acidic soil and the key to creating this environment is peat moss.
Cranberries normally are not started from seed but instead are grown from plants. These can be acquired in seed catalogues or from friends growing their own. But prior to getting your plants, the garden space will need to be prepared.
The first step required when it comes to preparing the soil is to remove the sod and/or soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches which covers an area covering 32 square feet. Once the material has been removed, fill in the space with peat moss.
Once the bed has been prepared, it is now time to plant your cranberry plants. The best plants to get are those from cutting that are at least 3 years old or runners that have rooted themselves in the cranberry bed.
Plant the cranberry plant no deeper then the container it came in and gently push the peat moss around the each plant.
During the first year of the bed, apply a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen. This will encourage runner development. After the first year, cut out the high nitrogen fertilizer and continue with this through the third year. Cutting out the nitrogen fertilizer will cause the runners to grow upright.
Before the winter winds blow into your area you will need to prep your plants. This is easily down by mulching them with an acidic mulch such as pine needles. Once the weather warms up again, remove the mulch but I would like to add one word of caution. Prior to doing this, make sure that your local area’s cold weather season has passed. If not the plants will need to be recovered.
A cranberry bog is long lasting. The plants will replace themselves through the runners that are sent out by the original plants. To keep this process going, only prune the runners that are not upright.
Cranberries can be picked when the fruit is crimson red and the seed is brown inside. Freeze or store in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.