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A small but proud harvest

Homegrown Goji Berries

Our first year of growing experimental goji berries comes to a close and we actually have something to show for it. Some readers may recall that we won two goji berry plants at the Garden Writers Association Symposium in 2015. It took a year for the plants to get established and 2017 was the first for fruit production. This week we harvested and dried our own goji berries. Here’s how:

The Harvest

Fresh goji berries! A treat we didn’t know would grow well here. Apparently they grow well in containers.

The harvest was small, but enough to claim success. We pulled out our solar food dryer (can be done in the oven on low temperatures, or in a plug-in dehydrator) and loaded up a screen with our small harvest.

Drying Goji Berries

goji berries
Homegrown goji berries drying in a solar food dryer.

It took 2 1/2 days to completely dry the berries on a warm day around 75° (it was 150° inside the dryer). If we had brought them indoors overnight, it probably would only have taken 2 days. Dehydrators and ovens will have a different timeline.

goji berries drying
A small but proud harvest

After drying, we brought them inside and put them in a jar for storage. Leave the lid cracked for a day to let the moisture levels equalize. The finished result is a little lighter in color than store bought goji berries, and ours taste more savory, like tomatoes, than purchase berries as well.

home grown gojis vs. store bought.
Homegrown gojis on the left. Store bought on the right.

The plants grow in 15″ containers and get watered every other day (since we don’t have rain) on a drip system. They drop their leaves during the year, but leaf out before flowering and setting fruit. They grow long tentacle-like vines that travel across the yard, but you can prune them back to keep them from sprawling, or stake them up to fencing.

After fruiting season, we will thin out wayward branches and leave new growth. You can also tip prune to create side branching (aka more fruit). We found this concise video to help you get started on your own goji berry adventure.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Cyndi

    I grow them in Wisconsin, they’re ripe around the first week of September. I put them in salads or just much a handful. It takes the cold winters well. We’ve only had it for 3 years, this is the first year of fruit.
    it blooms beautiful little clusters of tiny white star shaped flowers in July..

    1. Christy

      Yay! Glad to hear you’re growing Goji berries successfully in Wisconsin, Cyndi! That will give a lot of cool-winter gardeners some hope.

  2. Marcos Linberg

    That’s nice Christy, I’ve always wanted to plant Goji Berries, I think I’ll give it a try. I have just one question, how do they do on heat? I live in Brazil, where it’s hot most of the year.
    Thanks for the blog and the podcast.

    1. Christy

      Hi Marcos, from what I’m seeing you’d have better luck growing Acai berries where you are. Goji berries tolerate cold, and they grow pretty well here in coastal Los Angeles, but your climate conditions are considerably different. If you give them a try, I would suggest growing them with some afternoon shade. What’s the harm in trying one plant to see what happens? Keep us posted on how things go if you try them out in Brazil.

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