As gardeners start planting their crops and plants, they are always looking for ways to put them above the competition ranging from the biggest fruits and veggies, to having the richest taste, to the most exotic and eye-catching plants and crops. For those of you that are looking to impress the crowd, you should check out the newest trend in America, goji berries.
The goji plant is a shrub that spreads out. It has long canes, which are flexible, with groups of small leaves that are usually a grey-green color. In the late spring, the plant produces bright purple flowers, which eventually turn to small red fruit. Although they are bitter at first, they eventually get sweet, the longer they stay on the vine. Gojis grow best in full sunlight, with regular water availability; however, they can be in some shade and can survive in drought areas, but it is not recommended. They do not have to be pruned, nor do they have to be watched for pests, other than woodland animals. If you choose to fertilize your gojis, you can apply rose fertilizer to the plant. The best way to tell if the berries are ready to harvest is to simply taste one. If they are sweet and juicy, they are ready to be taken off by hand. If not, leave them on the vine until they are ripe.
Although Goji berries have been around for thousands of years, they are becoming more and more popular, calling for a higher demand. They have flourished in China since about 2600 B.C. to be used for medical purposes such as boosting the immune system, equalizing blood pressure, brightening skin color, and aiding in the prevention of cancer. The only downfall to China grown Goji berries is the fact that they are packed with pesticides, which is why growers in America are becoming more interested in producing this plant, with less chemicals applied to them.
Not only are they great to eat simply off the vine, but they are also extravagant when they are dried out, which can make for a great ingredient in trail mix. When they are covered in chocolate, they are mouthwatering. They can also be put in pills and powders, and tea, which originated in China. However, you like to prepare them; they make for a tasty snack.
If you are looking for a healthy treat or a great new fruit to grow, look no further than a goji berry. They have been around for centuries, but they are just becoming popular here in the U.S. With the natural antioxidants in them, they not only contribute to a healthier diet, but they also taste great. Who knows, you may even live to be 256 years old just like a Chinese herbalist named Master Li Chiung Yuen did by eating goji berries every day, according to legend. Whatever the reason is, I would look into jumping on the bandwagon of investing into goji berries as your next hobby or snack!