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Berries, They Aren’t Just Delicious

There is nothing more exciting than wandering around your yard or forest and finding sweet treats to eat. When our clients start dreaming up their edible landscapes, one request comes fastest and loudest: we want BERRIES! Berries have the very convenient habit of growing on edges, which make them excellent to integrate along walking paths for in-stride snacking. Check out some of our favorites to integrate into edible landscapes (and learn about how they serve even more functions than being delicious).

Blackberries, Black Raspberries & Raspberries (Oh my!)

The plants we find wandering around our forest and treeline edges here in central New York state are brambles: blackberries, black raspberries, and raspberries. With a little TLC, naturally occurring brambles can be stewarded into graceful paths, snack patches, and living hedges. 

The key to bramble berry production is pruning. There are a LOT of rules to prune different kinds of brambles depending on the varieties you find. Our solution? Don’t worry so much. Prune the dead canes out at ground level while they’re dormant, cut the fruited ends off once they’re done fruiting. You’ll get plenty of berries. For lots more information, see the Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Guide to Growing Fruit at Home.

The other tactic to bramble management is to add some support for the brambles, any kind of trellis you like. Pounding simple wooden stakes into the earth and tying twine or wire between them to give the brambles something to climb will do just fine. Or, get fancy like the trellis we installed poolside for one of our clients.

Backyard cedar raspberry trellis we installed for one of our client’s established  raspberry bush.

Fascinating rotating trellis system and shows the depth and creativity involved in commercial bramble management! No, you don’t have to rig this up at home.


Strawberries are our first fruits of spring, so we add them to our perennial gardens each year. They fruit in June and the season can be extended by choosing different varieties. We have had great luck with the bare root plants from Johnny’s Seeds and Growing Farmers.

Strawberries aren’t just delicious, they create an effective ground cover for your perennial gardens. I stress perennials here because if you rotate tomatoes around your annuals garden, you don’t want them in the same spot strawberries have been, and strawberries once established will make more and more strawberry plants you won’t want to get rid of. 

A strawberry groundcover is a great way to shade the earth to keep moisture from evaporating from your garden during the heat of summer. If you plant strawberry plants around your fruit trees, for instance, you won’t have to water your trees as frequently in droughty times.

We pinched off the flowers the first year we planted these strawberries to encourage runners to make new plants instead of berries, thus increasing our groundcover and berry production in the following year.

Yes, these strawberry pancakes were even more delicious than they look!


Never heard of a buffaloberry? You’re not alone! Though not a common berry to find in the grocery store, these hardy shrubs are excellent multi-functional plants for any perennial garden. 

Buffaloberries produce berries both for the birds and humans, and are either mealy or tasty depending on the variety. Birds like all of them, so they are a great “sacrifice” plant if you’re looking to plant enough food for both humans and wildlife, which we always recommend. Be sure to plant both a male and female plant for pollination.

Perhaps the coolest aspect of this bush is that they grow in terrible soil; not only that, they fix nitrogen from the air and put it right in the soil, so anywhere you plant buffaloberries in your permaculture garden, the soil will improve over time. Buffalos are emblematic of abundance, and this berry definitely has the power to increase the abundance of your garden spaces.

A fascinating video showing mature buffaloberry bushes and discussing their traditional uses and growing habits.

One Way Ticket to Berry-dise

Alright, that heading is ridiculous, but the idea is that once you get some berry bushes or plants established, you can have lots of berries every year, forever, with just a bit of stewardship. 

We at Regenerative Property Management always encourage our clients (and ourselves) to take the first step: just give it a try. Plant a few strawberries. Snip a few bramble branches. Find some buffaloberries from your local nursery or order a couple online from Burnt Ridge Nursery  and stick it in the ground. You won’t regret it!

To really get into growing berries, check out all the incredible resources from Cornell Cooperative Extension, in addition to their growing guide above. Happy eating!

About The Writer:

Katie is the co-founder of Regenerative Property Management with her idea-fountain of a partner Andrew. Katie received her Permaculture Design Certification from the Holistic Homesteading Academy in 2020, and she and her partner work with clients all over the Northeastern US to transform yards into food and bird and butterfly paradises.  Check out their work at

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