The goji berry (Lycium barbarum Ning qi No 1).
Goji berries (Lycium barbarum) are grown in many regions of Asia like Mongolia, China and in areas near Tibet.
The place that is specially famous for goji berry production is the Ningxia province.
A small remote place in Ningxia called “Zhongning country”, that lays at the banks of the Yellow river, gives way for a horizon of goji berry trees. The goji berries are produced by small and large scaled farmers whose families have been growing these berries for many generations. This makes Ningxia the most advanced and largest goji berry production area of Asia.
The development of new techniques and the cultivation of the goji berries on a natural manner makes that the Ningxia goji berry has the highest nutritional value of all the goji berries produced in Asia. This is realized by using irrigation water from the yellow river to fertilize the soil, good weather/soil conditions, and the limited use of pesticides.
Foto 1’the goji berry’
By communicating with these goji farmers, you can see the enormous passion they have, growing these goji berries. For centuries, these berries are one of the most important nutritional supplements in their diet.
Their history tells that, their way to a healthy and happy life is to eat homegrown goji berries every day. Picking goji berries is a way of life in these regions of Ningxia.
Ningxian goji berries are proven, the most nutritional berry of all.
Goji plant culivation tips,
Goji berry plants are easy to grow once they are established.
Goji berries will grow in almost any type of soil, light-sandy, Medium-loamy, and heavy-clay, but they tend to flower and fruit better in a well drained soil of moderate quality. When planting smaller goji trees in a heavy soil, it would be necessary to fill up the plant hole with a light soil to promote rooting. After that, it is necessary to fertilize the goji plant with universal fruit fertilizer in the spring and during flower production. A hand full would be sufficient.
Goji berry plants have an extensive root system and are very drought tolerant once established. Goji berry plants prefer full sun.
They can survive winters down to -30 degrees Celsius. The Goji berry tree grows as a tree that can become over 220 meters tall with vines that can get 12 feet long when not pruned. Heavy pruning of the Goji Berry bush will keep the tree looking nice and will also help it produce more goji berries.
Start from 1 main stem that branches every 40 -50 cm. All the strong up going shouts should be pruned because they suck all the juice from the main stem. You want to keep the horizontal growing shoots as side branches. In the picture below you can see the shape of the tree. It would also be good to prune the growing shouts every 30 growing centimeters to promote side branches. The goji berries grow on one year old shoots. The more side branches, the more berries.
In early summer this beautiful goji plant is covered with small trumpet shaped flowers. Both purple and white blossoms are on the same Goji plant. Goji berry plants add color to any landscape with their delicate flowers.
The goji plant is self and cross-pollinating. Both male and female organs can be found on each flower.
In the summer these pretty little flowers are followed by glossy, bright red Goji Berries.
The Goji plant continues to flower and produce Goji Berries right up until the first heavy frost.
The fresh Goji berries are juicy and sweet. In the northern regions of Europe it is better to cultivate the plants in not-heated greenhouses like tunnels. They also grow well outside, in the northern parts of Europe, but they tend to produce smaller and less-juicier berry. Possible pests/diseases are spider mites, birds and different kinds of fungus on the leaves.
They begin to fruit when they are 1 year old if you have the right variety and good growing conditions. Heavy yields can be expected from at 3 to 4 years old trees.
The Goji Berry can be grown indoors if given enough light. They can be grown under a strong, full spectrum, artificial light or they can be set by a window that gets direct sunlight for at least 8 hours every day. It is best to grow the Goji plants outside as they grow much better. The plant can also be grown in a pot with a depth of at least 30 cm.
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