The Edible Garden: Goji Berry (Lycium barbarum)
Have you met the new Super Fruit? It is commonly known as The Wolfberry or Matrimony Vine.
Goji is hardy in zones 5 to 9, and because it is a cousin of the tomato, it also requires full sun. Purple flowers appear in spring, and by summer the sweet berries will start to ripen and be ready to harvest. (A pollinator is not needed.) The berries contain 13 percent protein and are loaded with anti-oxidants. Not only that, the Goji berry contains more iron than spinach and more Vitamin C than an orange. Eat the berries fresh, or dry them like other dried fruits. What else could you ask for from a Super Food?
The shrub is quite vigorous, so make sure it is planted in a suitable location where the vine-like branches have ample room to spread. Try training it as an espalier, where its shape can be easily managed. Choose a main cane which will become the trunk of the plant, and prune accordingly. Planting more than one? Allow 6-8 feet between the plants. The Goji will need annual pruning to keep it in check (thin out previous year’s growth), and to encourage new growth which will produce new fruit. Because the berries are edible, be aware that birds, rabbits, squirrels, and deer will eat the leaves and the berries, so be prepared to wrap netting around your plant, if necessary.
Goji ‘Sweet Lifeberry’ is a Proven Winners Selection for 2013.
Detailed instructions on how to grow the Goji can be found here.