Growing Goji Berries
Goji plants originally come from goji seeds. However growers of goji plants not neccessarily start with goji seeds. Sometimes they get young goji bushes from bush nurseries. Sometimes they will do cuttage. Cuttage is a method of vegetative reproduction in plants. It makes use of the ability that some plants have to produce a whole new individual from a fragment of stem or root or from another organ. It is a form of cloning , where the individuals produced are identical to the mother plant.
In China when growers start with goji seeds. They will usually mix the seeds with fine grain sand and leave the mixture under 20°C. When about 30% seeds start germination, it is the right time to sow goji seeds onto lands. The best timing for Chinese growers to sow seeds is early spring. They usually sow the seeds in rows with 30-40 cm in between, and 1 cm below the surface. Usually seeds will all start sprouting in 7-10 days.
Of course we can also grow goji plants at home by ourselves. Goji is not a tender plant which demands for high quality soil. So we can use any medium soil or compost or perlite, etc. Sow thinly in 1cm deep in loose soil and sprinkle some fine and dry compost on the top. Then spray some water on top. The seeds will usually start burgeoning in 7 to 10 days. After seedlings shoot up, we should gradually give them more sunlight until the plants stand firmly in lands.
We also need to water seedlings regularly, but we have to keep soil well-drained. Don't over-water your goji plants. In July and August Chinese growers will usually stop watering goji plants to keep them dry. When goji plants develop leaves, we will need to move them into pots, and place the pots in warm places. When the plant is 3 or 4 inches tall, cut the growing tip to encourage bushiness. Then in 4-5 years, they will be 10'-12' high with vines reaching to 20' in length. Nice pruning will encourage flowering and fruiting.
For the first year it is likely that some goji plants will not produce flowers and berries. This depends on sunlight. Usually goji plants will produce nice purple flowers in the following summer. Please only expect good harvest in 4-5 years time. When you want to collect fresh goji berries, it is recommended to shake the bushes and to collect the berries using clothes but not hands, as the fresh berries will be oxidized quickly if you touch them with hands.