Green Your Home, Your Family and Your Life!

Green Your Home, Your Family and Your Life!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Growing Goumi Berries

Gumi1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Fruits de Goumi
Fruits de Goumi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Goumi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Have you ever heard of a goumi bush? No, I'm not making that name up - that is the common name for Eleagnus multiflora - another little-known berry that is a nutritional power house.

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?

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  1. It always tickles me to learn something 'brand spanking new' to me.... If not for you Lilly, I should never have known about Goumi berry. Thanks. I'm @grammakaye on twitter.

  2. You're welcome Kaye! The berry monsters compel me to seek out new and interesting varieties. Also, we do a lot of hiking and finds scads of berries in the wild. It's good to know which are edible and which are not. Glad you enjoyed the post!

  3. has them. I bought two, they are doing well.

    1. good to know, thanks! have you had them long? have you had berries yet?

  4. I also have 3. Planted last year in heavy clay soil. Doing well considering the conditions. We r near dubuque, IA.

  5. Nice post! There are some people planting berries because it has lots of uses and it's one remedies to have perfect beauty.

    Thank you for sharing this information with us!

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  6. When making jam, how dose one deal with the seeds?

  7. Will these do good in Louisiana? Never heard of them, would like to try. Thanks.