Small Fruit


These low growing shrubs have many features.  Glossy dark green leaves turn orange-red in the fall, white flowers in the spring followed by edible blueberries.  These shrubs prefer partial shade, organically rich, well-drained soil, and good snow cover.  Mulch around the base of the plant as they are shallow rooted and benefit from extra winter protection.  Amend soil annually with compost or manure.  Although these shrubs are self-fertile, greater yields are produced when two different varieties are planted.


Although sweet cherries are not hardy in Alberta, there are other types of edible cherries that are. Cherries like to grow in a sunny site with moist, well-drained soil.

Nanking Cherry
  • partially self-pollinating, better yields when cross-pollinated
  • produces red skinned fruit
  • great for making jams, jellies, pies and wines
  • ripens in July
Evans Cherry
  • self-pollinating sour cherry
  • produces bright semi-sweet red cherries
  • great for eating fresh, jam, jelly and wine
  • delay harvest to increase sugars
  • ripens in late July
Romance Series
  • very hardy self-pollinating cherries developed at the University of Saskatchewan
  • produces 2-cm cherries in early August to early September depending on the variety
  • high yielding, fruit production starts production start within 3 years of planting
  • dwarf stature only reaching 8 feet in height and resistance to pests
  • Varieties - Crimson Passion, Cupid, Juliette, Romeo and Valentine.
 Carmine Jewel
  • self-pollinating
  • produces 2-cm dark almost black cherries in late July to early August
  • good for jams, jellies, juice, pies, and wines

Currants & Gooseberries

These hardy shrubs are adaptable and easy to grow.  Plants form upright shrubs with glossy dark green leaves that turn yellow or orange in the fall.  They produce small flowers in the spring, followed by white, red, or black berries in the summer.  Currants and Gooseberries are self-fertile but will set more fruit if two cultivars are planted.  The berries from these plants are great for jams, cooking, wine, juice, and fresh eating.

  • Black Currant - blue-black berries with a strong sweet flavor that ripen from June to August.  Fruit is produced on new wood.
  • Consort Currant - heavy producer of strong tart-sweet berries that ripen from July to August.  Fruit is produced on 1 to 3 year old wood.
  • Red Lake Currant - tart juicy red berries that ripen from June to August.  Fruit is produced on 2 to 3 year old wood.
  • White Currant - white berries with a mild flavor that ripen June to August.  Fruit is produced on 2 to 3 year old wood.
  • Pixwell Gooseberry - green berries ripen to pink in late July. Fruit is produced on 2 year old wood.
  • Red Hinnonmacki Gooseberry - red berries with a sweet flavor and a hint of apricot taste.  Fruit produced on 2 year old wood.


A hardy vine that needs to be planted in a sheltered site away from winds and mulched for the winter.  It produces deeply lobed dark green leaves, fragrant white flowers, and medium sized blue-black berries which ripen in late summer.  New growth is covered in a white downy coat.  Grapes are good for fresh eating, juice, jams, and jellies.

After planting, prune back to 2 or 3 strong buds.  Next spring cut back last year's growth to 4 or 5 strong buds.  In subsequent years prune back all previous year's growth, leaving no more than 30 buds on each plant.

Valiant is the best variety for Calgary.  It produced blue-black grapes that have a sweet tangy flavor.  Winter hardy ripening in late summer.

Goji Berry

Relatively new, this Asian fruit has amazing nutritional properties.  An upright spreading shrub with narrow grey-green leaves along spiny stems.  Produces bell-shaped purple flowers followed by bright red berries that have a tangy sweet and sour flavor.  Self-fertile, the berries ripen from summer to frost.  Plants can set fruit during the first year they are planted.

Honeyberry (Haskap)

These extremely hardy shrubs have dark green leaves, white flowers, and edible oblong blue berries.  The fruit is great for fresh eating, jams, jellies, juice, baking, and wine.  Cross-pollination is required - plant two different varieties that bloom at the same time to ensure fruit production.

  • Aurora - largest, sweetest berry that ripens from late June to early August
  • Berry Blue - large berry with a blueberry flavor that ripens mid to late June
  • Borealis - large soft berry with an excellent sweet tangy flavor that ripens late June to early August
  • Honey Bee - slightly tart berry that ripens mid to late June and remain on the shrub until the third week of August
  • Indigo Gem - the most productive variety with sweet slightly chewy berries that ripen mid-June
  • Polar Jewel - sweet dark blue berries that ripen in mid-June
  • Sugar Mountain - large tasty berries have a raspberry-blueberry flavor
  • Tundra - large firm berries with a sweet tangy flavor that ripen in late June


Jostaberry is a cross between a black currant and a gooseberry.  These thorn-less, easy to grow shrubs produce large clusters of dark black berries.  The berries are sweet like a gooseberry with a strong currant flavor.  The berries are excellent for jams, preserves, freezing, juice, and pies.  These shrubs are resistant to powdery mildew and white pine blister rust.  They are adaptable and tolerate a wide range of growing conditions.


Raspberries are hardy, popular, and easy to grow fruit bearing plants.  They prefer a site that receives full sun and is protected from winds.  Raspberries like deep, fertile soil so it is recommended to amend soil annually with organic matter.  Watering is important to establishing and maintaining plants.  We do not receive adequate rainfall therefore supplemental water is necessary.  This is especially important when plants are blooming all the way up to harvesting.  If raspberries do not receive enough water the berries and yield will be affected.

There are two different types of Raspberries - Summer Bearing and Everbearing

Summerbearing (Floricane)

These varieties fruit on canes that were produced the previous season (second years growth).  New shoots grow to their full size in the first year, and then bear fruit in the second summer.  Fruit ripens early to midsummer.  Pruning consists of removing canes that produced fruit.  This can be done after harvest, in the fall, or the following spring. 

  • Boyne - hardy, very productive variety with dark red aromatic, medium sweet berries
  • Canby - vigorous, productive variety with almost spineless canes and large firm, juicy bright red berries
  • Latham - vigorous, very productive variety with large, round, aromatic full flavored berries; disease resistant
  • Tulameen - excellent variety that has an extended harvest season; large, firm flavorful berries are produced on nearly spineless canes
Everbearing (Primocane)

These varieties produce fruit on the current seasons growth. Fruit ripens in midsummer to early fall.  Pruning consists of cutting canes to the ground each year.  This can be done in the fall or in the spring.  Leaving canes over winter can help trap snow and protect canes from winter damage.

  • Amity - large red berries with good flavor; tolerant of heavy soils and resistant to aphids
  • Autumn Britten - moderately vigorous variety with bright red berries; early ripening
  • Caroline - very productive variety that produces fruit over a long period; large firm, flavorful berries
  • Double Delight - medium sweet tart berries with good flavor
  • Fall Gold - vigorous, adaptable variety with large, very sweet, golden-yellow berries
  • Heritage - large, sweet, dark red berries; tolerant of heavy soils
  • Red River - medium red berries with a sweet tangy flavor are produced on sparsely spined stems
  • raspberries should be planted 1.5 to 2 feet apart and space rows 3-4 feet apart.
Winter Protection
  • benefit from winter mulch
  • bend canes over in the same direction and hold them close to the ground by weighing them down with soil. Then add a layer of mulch on top


Rhubarb is a perennial plant that is ideally suited to Calgary's growing environment.  This hardy plant forms large fleshy rhizomes and produces large coarse green leaves with long thick red stalks.  The stalks have a delicious tart flavor making them ideal for use in sauces, pies, and desserts.

Rhubarb prefers a site that receives full sun to partial shade and rich moist, well-drained soil.  Amending soil with organic matter annually will encourage vigorous growth.  Thriving in moist soils, watering is important to keep plants healthy and productive.  Water during the heat of the summer and during the establishment period is very important.

No harvest should be made the first summer following planting.  During the second season one harvest can be made and each subsequent seasons two harvests can be made.  The number of stalks harvested should be based on overall plant vigor.


A very showy native shrub with white spring flowers, rounded green leaves that turn orange-red in the fall, and delicious purplish-black berries.  The berries are great for fresh eating, freezing, making pies and preserves.  These shrubs are self-fertile so no cross-pollination is required to enjoy the berries.  Generally newly planted shrubs should start to produce fruit 2-4 years after they are planted.

Saskatoon's prefer a site that receives full sun and moist, well-drained soil.  They are adaptable to most conditions and sites but the yield and fruit may be affected in less than ideal conditions.  Prune in the spring to maintain shape and remove suckers.  The addition of organic matter annually will encourage vigorous growth.

  • Honeywood - vigorous, high yielding, late blooming variety with large (16mm) full flavor, tangy berries
  • Northline - very productive, vigorous variety with large (16mm) sweet flavorful berries
  • Pembina - vigorous, productive variety with medium (14mm) tangy, sweet berries
  • Regent - moderately productive variety with medium (13mm) sweet mild flavored berries
  • Smoky - vigorous, very productive variety with medium (14mm) very sweet mild flavored berries
  • Thiessen - early flowering, high yielding variety with large (17mm) fresh, juicy berries


An upright shrub with narrow grey-green leaves, small yellow flowers, and bright orange berries.  The berries are juicy and have a high concentration of vitamin C.  Seaberry have separate female and male plants, in order to get berries you must plant a female and male plant.

  • Askola - 1cm, orange berries with a high concentration of vitamin C and E that ripen in late August
  • Leikora - 1cm, juicy intensely flavored berries that ripen in late August to early September
  • Russian Orange - 1cm flavorful orange berries that ripen in late July to early August


One of the most popular fruiting plants for home gardens.  Strawberries prefer a sunny site that is protected from strong winds and a rich, well-drained soil.  Annual addition of organic matter is recommended to keep soils rich and loose.  Strawberries are shallow rooted so watering is very important in getting plants established and thriving.  Mulching is beneficial as it helps prevent soil from splashing onto the berries, discourages weeds, keeps soil moist, and provides extra protection in the winter. 

Strawberries are classified into three main groups: Junebearing, Everbearing and Day-neutrals.

  • flower buds are initiated under short days(fall) and fruit the following spring
  • produce a single crop each year for a 3-4 week period from July into August
  • initiate fruit buds under short days and long days so have two fruiting seasons each year
  • first crop is produced late June to early July, second crop in late August
  • do not depend on day length to produce flower buds
  • produce fruit throughout the growing season, heaviest production in August and September
Causes of Poor Yield
  • poor location - too much shade, soil is too wet
  • poor planting - too deep, too shallow. Plant at the same depth as purchased or ensure that all the roots are buried
  • water - regular and thorough watering is required for soft fruits
  • poor pollination - rain, cold water, strong winds or dry air all lead to reduced pollination
  • old age - the average life expectancy is 3 years. Replace strawberries often to maintain vigor