|Gumi1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
|Fruits de Goumi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
|Goumi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Goumi berries are a great source of vitamins A and E, and have the highest lycopene content of any food - even higher than the widely touted tomato.
These plants are originally from the far East, but if you live in the northeastern US, you may have seen goumi bushes without realizing it as the plants have naturalized over much of that region.
If you're in need of a lovely yet edible hedge row, consider giving goumi bushes a try. Goumi is a fast-growing bush, reaching heights of 10 feet (for southern cultivars) or 4-6 feet for cultivars hardy as far north as zone 4.
Goumi bushes are particularly useful interplanted with other fruit bushes as goumi is a nitrogen-fixer.
That's right, instead of needing fertilizer, this bush fixes nitrogen in the soil, and any excess will be available to fertilize and potentially increase fruit production in nearby plants.
Plant goumi in most soils, provided that the site is well-drained and receives an adequate amount of sunlight (half-day or more).
Goumi will tolerate drought and even harsh seaside habitats and pollution, making them an excellent edible bush for urban environments. Even better, they are also relatively free of problems from diseases or pests.
Goumi bushes produce lightly fragrant flowers in April or May, followed by juicy, bright red berries in early summer, during the gap-time between strawberries and blackberries.
The berries can be eaten fresh, provided they are fully ripe. Before ripening, the berries taste more sour than sweet., although they can be used in pies, jams and preserves at that point, particularly in any recipe calling for gooseberries.
Goumi berries can also be dried or even pickled - an incredibly unique flavor combining sweet, sour and salt.
Expect up to 25 pounds of fruit from each goumi bush. They are self-fertile, meaning you don't have to plant them in pairs but can grow just one bush if you'd like.
I've never seen goumi berries available commercially. At Rainbow's Acre we plan to grow at least two bushes, not only for health and variety but also so that the berry monsters can get their fix during that gap between strawberry harvest and blackberry/raspberry harvest.
So, are you ready to give growing goumi bushes a try?