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  • How to grow lingonberries

    Thanks to John Harrison of Allotment & Gardens

    Lingonberries will grow successfully in the UK. They’re native to Scandinavia where they’re almost a weed in some areas. Extremely hardy, as you’d expect.

    They’re similar in taste to cranberries but, I think, with more depth of flavour. I first came across them served as a jam with meatballs in a Norwegian motorway service station!

    Lingonberries

    Lingonberries are very similar to cranberries and thrive in acid soil and semi-shade.Pot grown lingonberries are available from nurseries and seed merchants. Like cranberries, they do well in containers.

    Growing Lingonberries

    • Cultivate as for cranberries
    • Plant in late autumn or early winter.
    • Ready to harvest in early autumn the following year.
    • Usually grown from cuttings rather than seeds
    • Plants need a few years to establish before berry production begins
    • Planting in ground, allow approximately two square feet per 1 yr old plant to spread. Remove soil to a depth of six to eight inches and clear all weed roots. Lingonberries do not compete well with weeds. If your soil tends to be dry, the dug area can be lined with polythene with some drainage holes punched in the bottom to hold moisture.
    • Fill the area with either ericaceous soil or peat moss, some sharp sand, and add about a pound of blood meal and a half pound of bone meal. Add some high nitrogen fertilizer. Mix. Water, but do not over saturate.
    • Plant cuttings two inches deep and about one to two feet apart (1-1.5m) 3 yr old plants need 3 ft (1m) spacings
    • Water regularly so soil stays moist to the touch for the first year while cranberries establish themselves. Mulch is recommended.
    • Feed the first year or two with some high nitrogen fertilizer to encourage upright shoots then stop
    • About every 3 years during production, cut out any dead wood, never the uprights, and trim new runners to revigorate berry production
    • Ground growth works best for cranberries but they will grow in wide pots filled with ericaceous soil mix as above. Trim runners that escape the pot but leave others to grow fruiting upright stems. Keep well watered.

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