How To Grow Your Own Berries In Northern Michigan

A mix of fresh blueberries and raspberries resting in a large, blue bowl.

Berries

Photo by Dano

How To Grow Your Own Berries In Northern Michigan

A mix of fresh blueberries and raspberries resting in a large, blue bowl.

Berries

Photo by Dano

Grow Your Own Berries And Save Money!

Have you seen the cost of berries at the grocery store recently? Yikes! Inflation has hit everywhere, and this certainly includes the cost of fresh berries. My toddler alone can eat an entire pint of blueberries in a day, and that adds up quickly!

Fortunately, you can grow your own berries! This may sound intimidating to some, but fortunately growing berries can be surprisingly easy with the right space and the right tools.

Can You Grow Berries In Northern Michigan?

The short answer to this is YES! A wide variety of berries grow quite well in Northern Michigan. Our sandy soil is mixed with rich nutrients from the lakeshore and the forests, combining to make the ideal medium for growing berries.

In addition to our soil, Northern Michigan’s unique climate suits some berry varieties perfectly. Our moist autumns and cold winters encourage some plants to properly enter their dormancy cycle, which help provide healthy growth in the spring and an abundant harvest in the fall. 

Some examples of berries that grow well in Northern Michigan include:

  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Juneberries

Summer Berries

Photo by by Nana B Agyei

How Much Does It Cost To Grow Your Own Berries?

The initial planting process of any berry plant will be the most expensive part of growing your own berries. It is important you invest time and money into prepping your space for a new berry plant. Some examples of what you might need to get started include:

  • Shovel or hand trowel
  • Organic compost
  • Soil acidifier (if planting blueberries)
  • Granular fertilizer
  • Trellis (if planting brambles)

Once the initial planting process is complete, it is recommended to continue to fertilize the plant throughout its fruit-producing years. While it is not needed for the plant to grow, using fertilizer can encourage larger fruit and a higher yield at harvest time. Granular fertilizer will usually cost between $8-$15 for a 4 pound bag, but a small amount can cover numerous plants.

How Long Does It Take For Berries To Grow?

The amount of time it takes for your berries to grow to maturity will depend on the type and variety of berry bush you plant. Some plants, like strawberries, are capable of producing fruit early in the summer. While other plants, like blueberries, will need the full season for the fruit to be ready to harvest. 

The age of the plant will also impact how long it will take for fruit to be harvestable. For many berry plants, it is recommended you wait for 1-2 years before you do a full harvest. I know, I know – that wait is hard! It is ok to harvest just a few berries for those first few season, so you can at least get a taste for what’s to come!

Waiting the recommended 2-3 years before your first full harvest can help the plant mature more quickly by pushing nutrients back down to the root ball. This will lead to a larger plant with more growth the following spring, which means more fruit to harvest in the fall!

When Should You Plant Berries In Northern Michigan?

Because of Michigan’s shorter growing season, it is recommended that you plant your berry bushes early in the spring. If you are growing your plants from bare root or dormant plants, you do not need to wait until the risk of frost is over. 

You should plant bare root plants as soon as the soil is soft enough to work with. Raspberries are a common bare root plant that are easy to plant in their dormancy. Dormant plants should not have any growth on them, and they will naturally ‘wake up’ once temperatures are warmer. 

If you are planting your berry plants from seed, you will want to start the seed indoors over the winter. Seedlings should be kept in a warm, protected space until they are at least 6” tall. It is recommended to keep seedlings indoors or in a greenhouse for the first year to protect the plant. Prepare yourself for a lengthy, but rewarding journey.

Strawberries in multiple stages of growth hanging down from the stem of a mother plant.

Strawberries

Photo by Sigusr0

Where Can You Buy Berry Plants In Northern Michigan?

Bright Lane Gardens is proud to provide our greater area with a wide selection of bare root and potted berry plants. Our plants are guaranteed to be ready to plant – meaning they are mature enough to withstand our cold winters! Every raspberry plant is 1 year old, and every blueberry plant is 1-2 years old

We also carry all necessary soil amendments, planting accessories, and trellises needed to support berry plants. If you’re not too sure what you need to get started, one of our garden experts will be available to help.

Our bare root plants are available for presale starting mid-April, giving you plenty of time to get an early start on planting! All of our potted plants will come with growth on the plant, and will need to be planted after the risk of frost is over. These plants are available for sale starting Mothers’ Day Weekend.

Grow Your Own Berries And Save Money!

Have you seen the cost of berries at the grocery store recently? Yikes! Inflation has hit everywhere, and this certainly includes the cost of fresh berries. My toddler alone can eat an entire pint of blueberries in a day, and that adds up quickly!

Fortunately, you can grow your own berries! This may sound intimidating to some, but fortunately growing berries can be surprisingly easy with the right space and the right tools.

Can You Grow Berries In Northern Michigan?

The short answer to this is YES! A wide variety of berries grow quite well in Northern Michigan. Our sandy soil is mixed with rich nutrients from the lakeshore and the forests, combining to make the ideal medium for growing berries.

In addition to our soil, Northern Michigan’s unique climate suits some berry varieties perfectly. Our moist autumns and cold winters encourage some plants to properly enter their dormancy cycle, which help provide healthy growth in the spring and an abundant harvest in the fall. 

Some examples of berries that grow well in Northern Michigan include:

  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Juneberries

Summer Berries

Photo by by Nana B Agyei

How Much Does It Cost To Grow Your Own Berries?

The initial planting process of any berry plant will be the most expensive part of growing your own berries. It is important you invest time and money into prepping your space for a new berry plant. Some examples of what you might need to get started include:

  • Shovel or hand trowel
  • Organic compost
  • Soil acidifier (if planting blueberries)
  • Granular fertilizer
  • Trellis (if planting brambles)

Once the initial planting process is complete, it is recommended to continue to fertilize the plant throughout its fruit-producing years. While it is not needed for the plant to grow, using fertilizer can encourage larger fruit and a higher yield at harvest time. Granular fertilizer will usually cost between $8-$15 for a 4 pound bag, but a small amount can cover numerous plants.

How Long Does It Take For Berries To Grow?

The amount of time it takes for your berries to grow to maturity will depend on the type and variety of berry bush you plant. Some plants, like strawberries, are capable of producing fruit early in the summer. While other plants, like blueberries, will need the full season for the fruit to be ready to harvest. 

The age of the plant will also impact how long it will take for fruit to be harvestable. For many berry plants, it is recommended you wait for 1-2 years before you do a full harvest. I know, I know – that wait is hard! It is ok to harvest just a few berries for those first few season, so you can at least get a taste for what’s to come!

Waiting the recommended 2-3 years before your first full harvest can help the plant mature more quickly by pushing nutrients back down to the root ball. This will lead to a larger plant with more growth the following spring, which means more fruit to harvest in the fall!

When Should You Plant Berries In Northern Michigan?

Because of Michigan’s shorter growing season, it is recommended that you plant your berry bushes early in the spring. If you are growing your plants from bare root or dormant plants, you do not need to wait until the risk of frost is over. 

You should plant bare root plants as soon as the soil is soft enough to work with. Raspberries are a common bare root plant that are easy to plant in their dormancy. Dormant plants should not have any growth on them, and they will naturally ‘wake up’ once temperatures are warmer. 

If you are planting your berry plants from seed, you will want to start the seed indoors over the winter. Seedlings should be kept in a warm, protected space until they are at least 6” tall. It is recommended to keep seedlings indoors or in a greenhouse for the first year to protect the plant. Prepare yourself for a lengthy, but rewarding journey.

Strawberries in multiple stages of growth hanging down from the stem of a mother plant.

Strawberries

Photo by Sigusr0

Where Can You Buy Berry Plants In Northern Michigan?

Bright Lane Gardens is proud to provide our greater area with a wide selection of bare root and potted berry plants. Our plants are guaranteed to be ready to plant – meaning they are mature enough to withstand our cold winters! Every raspberry plant is 1 year old, and every blueberry plant is 1-2 years old

We also carry all necessary soil amendments, planting accessories, and trellises needed to support berry plants. If you’re not too sure what you need to get started, one of our garden experts will be available to help.

Our bare root plants are available for presale starting mid-April, giving you plenty of time to get an early start on planting! All of our potted plants will come with growth on the plant, and will need to be planted after the risk of frost is over. These plants are available for sale starting Mothers’ Day Weekend.