I receive plenty of comments, questions, and feedback to an earlier post about Growing Goji Berries so I thought it was about time for an update on the progress of my Goji Berry plants.
I would also recommend that anyone interested in the topic browse the Goji Berry comments for advice and helpful information provided by other backyard Goji Berry growers.
Goji Berry Trials…
To begin my Goji Berry trial update, I have to admit that the Goji Berry plants that were originally planted last fall did not survive the winter and had to be replaced this spring. I’m not sure what went wrong as I followed the planting instructions supplied by the grower (really, I did!!), and planted them in the ground shortly after they arrived late last fall.
Fortunately after sending a brief e-mail, Timpanogos Nursery was kind enough to replace the Goji seedlings with a couple of their spring potted nursery stock. I received these Goji plants in May and planted them in the same location as the previous plants.
The planting was a lot easier the second time around since I didn’t have to cope with removing sod and excavating hard packed soil. As it turns out things wouldn’t go quite as smoothly for the new Goji Berry seedlings themselves.
… and Goji Berry Tribulations
Once planted, the most important responsibility is to keep the Goji seedlings well watered until they recover from being shipped and transplanted, and are established in their new home in the garden. This was especially critical because at the time we were experiencing warmer than normal weather and very little rainfall.
One morning as I went down to water one of the plants I was shocked to discover Goji Berry leaves scattered about and nothing but a short stump where the day before stood a healthy green Goji plant.
My first thought was to remember a comment from another gardener who had a similar experience with Goji Berries being devoured by some unknown attacker. The second thought that quickly crossed my mind was for revenge as I eyed a small bunny nearby with a guilty look on his face and what I imagined to be a Goji Berry leaf dangling from its mouth.
Goji Plant Security Detail
Despite the previous warning I never would have expected that anything would find young Goji plants to be such a delicacy. The plant had been staked and surrounded by a cylinder of wire garden fencing but that obviously wasn’t enough to protect the seedling from a hungry or mischievous critter.
I didn’t hold out much hope for the survival of the Goji plant but I decided to continue watering and stepped up the security by employing a double layer of fencing with straw in between to both camouflage and help conserve moisture for what remained of the Goji Berry.
The second Goji is located in a more exposed area of the yard and despite noticing other rabbits in the vicinity, this plant was never bothered even though something did remove and trample the fencing that guarded it.
The lesson that I learned the hard way is that if your goji plants are growing in rabbit, deer, or groundhog territory it’s a good idea to provide the appropriate protection to your young seedlings.
State of the Goji Berries
I have been able to cut back on the amount of watering, and both of the Goji Berry Plants are alive and well. There have been no further attacks and I’ve reduced the threat alert levels as the plants continue to grow and become stronger.
Despite its severe pruning down to the ground, the Goji Berry plant that was eaten has managed to fully recover and rebound with substantial new growth. The funny thing is that it actually looks larger and healthier than the other goji plant that suffered no setbacks.
Not that I’m going to give any credit or thanks to the bunny that I suspect of doing the damage, but I guess the pruning wasn’t entirely bad after all and the Goji plants may be more resilient than the winter-kill experience led me to believe.
The plants are still less than a foot tall, and while I’m not counting on harvesting fresh goji berries anytime soon my Goji Berry plants are showing promises of adapting to my climate and growing into the ornamental, edible, and health promoting plant that I anticipated when I first planted them in the garden!
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