Growing and Saving the Seeds of Huckleberries
We offer a range of very closely related garden huckleberries. Given that these plants have nearly identical growing requisites, you can refer to this growing guide for any of these Latin names: Solanum melanocerasum, Solanum nigrum, and Solanum burbankii. These plants resemble pepper plants and are grown in a very similar manner. The fruit is quite small and has a bitter flavor that becomes more mild as it ripens. Please note that these members of the nightshade family can be toxic if the berries are eaten underripe and you should wait until they are soft before consuming.
Native from Europe to Asia and northern Africa. This member of the nightshade family has been introduced to the Americas. The ripe berries are considered edible and used in a range of recipes.
- Germination steps are very similar to those for tomato seeds. Start indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost date and transplant out after all chance of frost has passed. Sow seeds 1/8 inch deep.
- Ideal germination temperature is 75-80 F.
- Sow in quality seed-starting mix and provide average moisture.
- Seeds germinate in 7-21 days.
- Grow these plants just as you would tomatoes.
- Provide full sun. Plants prefer well-drained soil with average to rich organic matter.
- Provide average, consistent moisture.
- Space plants 14 inches apart.
- These plants can be grown with a tomato cage for support, or allow them to remain freestanding.
- A relatively pest- and disease-free plant. The biggest challenge is to prevent aggressive re-seeding and invasive behavior. If you are concerned about re-seeing, you can grow these in a container and prevent fruit spilling into soil, or provide a layer of plastic mulch or hardware cloth beneath plants and harvest fruit promptly.
- Self pollinating.
- Save seeds by allowing fruit to become quite squishy and soft before picking.
- Mash berries and dilute with water to help separate the seeds from the flesh, then skim the skin and flesh, leaving just the seeds.
- Dry seeds thoroughly and place in an airtight container.
- Store seeds in a cool, dark, dry place.