Fruit and Nut
|Cranberries and Lingonberries|
Cranberries (vaccinium macrocarpum)
Long cultivated for its tart purple-red berries, popular in cranberry sauce, the American cranberry requires moist, free draining acidic ground to do well. Providing those conditions are met, it is very easy to grow.
Large scale commercial producers construct special beds that can be briefly flooded several times a year. This helps reduce certain pests (generally only a problem in large scale production), control weeds and also facilitates harvest. However, for the small scale producer, cranberries can be easily grown on wide, slightly raised beds. An established bed will yield 1-2kg (occasionally 3kg) per m² (10-20t/ha).
For best results, the water table should be maintained at 30-60cm below the ground surface. The American cranberry does not thrive in permanently waterlogged or very dry ground. The ideal pH is 4.0-5.0 (upper limit 5.5)
We offer the following varieties
Early Black, vigorous, adaptable to many soil types, berries dark red, fruits early in season, very good storage life. One of the most popular varieties in the US.
Bergman, mid season variety, compact growing and highly productive. Red berries, fruits large with good storage capability. Good disease resistance. Very good variety for home production. Strongly recommended.
Pilgrim, a late high yielding variety with blueberry size purple-red berries, popular in the United States since the 1960s and now grown commercially in Europe. This variety cropped well at our former trial site at Cooloughra.
We believe the cranberry has massive potential in Ireland. Although trialled in the 1980s and 90s by Bord na Mona, the idea at the time was to compete on international markets. Given the two hundred years of experience and know-how of the North American producers, and their huge scale of production this was always somewhat optimisitic!
However, for niche Irish markets, the cranberry is a potential winner. In the United States, cranberries are planted in vast monocultures and are routinely sprayed with fungicides and pesticides (with serious environmental implications). For the small scale or low density producer, cranberries are perfectly suited to organic methods. Cranberries combine well with aronia and apple for a sugar-free cranberry sauce.
Cowberry/Lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea)
Closely related to the cranberry, the cowberry is native to many European countries including Ireland. It is cultivated on a large scale in many countries, notably Sweden, Finland, Germany, Poland and the Netherlands. The berry is similar to the cranberry but sweeter and less astringent. It prefers drier, well drained acid land but is much more tolerant of wind than the cranberry and will do well in Atlantic coastal regions. To the best of our knowledge it is not cultivated in Ireland.
We offer the following varieties:
Koralle. Light red berries, highly productive and reliable cropper. Slightly fussier in its soil requirements (requires very well drained soil)
Red Pearl. Dark red berries, more tolerant of less-than-ideal soil conditions but yields can be more variable.
Both varieties are highly ornamental.