Starting Elderberries

My son Buck can not only cook and care for the kiddos…but he is also a gardener.  Of all of the kids, he’s my best gardener.  Kayla loves to plant but doesn’t love the tending.  Karl aspires to be a gardener and just might this year.  Kelli and Kalissa have no interest.

Buck was so sweet and chronicled this elderberry planting experience with the kiddos.

Buck writes:
I’ve always been a casual gardener; If I plant it and it doesn’t grow or a rabbit eats it I don’t lose too much sleep. In my younger days when me and my friend Kris didn’t have so many kids running around, we’d try to “can the world” as we said. Between the 2 of our families, it was pretty normal to can 200+ jars a year of everything from apple sauce to mango habanero pepper jelly. We’ve since gotten too busy for that but his brother Brian still does over 400 jars a year (which I am super jealous of). With the rising cost of food, I’ve decided to take a different approach to gardening this year. I want more year-round or I guess Summer-long veggies. Certain things like potatoes and onions didn’t make much sense before planting in the garden and taking up space because they were $0.99/5lbs. Now they are $3-4 per 5lb bag.

Because of this, I’m going to take gardening a little more seriously this year, actually caring about plant spacing, watering, checking it every day, etc. I’m actually going to try potatoes and onions this year too. Another addition I’m making is a few different types of berry bushes. I got 8 (they actually sent me 10) elderberry cuttings to get started. I did burn myself a few years ago getting too jumpy and started seeds WAYYYY too early for my climate zone and then had to try to keep them alive for 2 months before planting, it was a mess. With Elderberry they will show little to no growth for about a month, which is much more convenient for me to start now. My friend still cans Elderberries every year.  So I’m trying them too.

I absolutely love these self-watering waterers and I’ve been using them for years, they came out with a larger size recently with a clear viewing window so you can check your water levels.  You can find the pots HERE. I got some help from the kids getting them ready, they both had fun. Mouse learned that making faces is more fun than just smiling so this is her go-to.

I soaked these for 36 hours before planting and you could already see the roots beginning to grow. I was super happy to find out the company I bought these from Is actually based in Iowa. I like keeping my money close to home and shipping was super fast. You can find the plants HERE.

They said in the potting instructions to keep covered like with a plastic film so they wouldn’t dry out so fast. Flashback to my childhood and I knew exactly what to get. Maybe Mom can explain better as to why we just used these…..things, for lack of a better word.  We didn’t grow up with Tupperware, all the leftovers were just kept in the bowl they were served in with these on top. Find them HERE.


I think they’ll work great.

So now we sit and wait, I added shelves to the south-facing bedroom when we moved in out of Azek scraps and it works great for starting plants.

I’ll be back with an update once we get them outside and planted.  Spring can’t come soon enough!

16 thoughts on “Starting Elderberries

  1. Anne Fisher

    Buck, I say “GOOD LUCK” with your gardening starts –and Elderberries— they are growing around here -in the windbreak, some in a small wild flower spot– I’m never here to harvest any –IF I could-I’d try making the elderberry syrup that has gotten popular these days!!

    Reply
  2. NJ

    People make elderberry syrup & swear by a teaspoon or two daily for immunity. I think we all agree we need all the immunity we can get now. I barely squeaked by on canning lids last Fall. I saw some in the store before Thanksgiving and bought some so I should be good for another year.

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  3. Sherrill

    Just wondering what the ‘potting medium’ is that he’s using (looks like dried, shriveled up berries rather than dirt)? Never seen that before. Elderberries are SO HEALTHY for a body so that’s a great berry to grow.

    Reply
  4. Brendalynne1

    Great experience for children.do you have enough planting area or will you need to do some container planting?do you use any scraps for regrowth such as tomato seeds etc.?I hope you will continue to share and encourage your mom’s readers.

    Reply
  5. Carla

    Like Buck I’m rethinking how I garden this year. We have plans to add some trees in front to shield us from traffic, and to look nice of course. I want to add in a Paw Paw tree, some Serviceberry, and elderberry. I think my landscape should be edible! And, I most definitely need rabbit fencing around my berries. Darn critters are taking a serious toll.

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  6. Joy

    I stuck some elderberry cuttings in a pot of soil and forgot about them for a couple of months. Every one of them rooted. If you like the taste of Goji berries, they root pretty easily too.

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  7. Samantha M

    Looking forward to watching the growing progress, Buck! I can’t wait to start sowing my veg seeds – like you, it’s too early just yet :-)

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  8. Judith Fairchild

    Oh Buck, you are so blessed. You learned fro.your mom and dad about gardening and you evidently have a green thumb+ . There’s something about having fresh from the garden food that can’t be found in any store. Plus you’re passing on to your children the joys of gardening. I’m looking forward to the updates. Thanks Jo for sharing Buck’s letter.

    Reply
  9. Kim from TN

    Good luck with the garden and the berries. Great project to do with your kids and I look forward to updates on how its going. I have a small yard, so I plant tomatoes and potatoes in containers. So easy to week and harvest.

    Reply
  10. Stearns Carol

    Always wanted to be a gardener but sadly, that talent passed me by. And I’d rather be quilting. Its tough to grow things in FL as we have to start early as the summer sun burns everything. I might try a potted tomato bush this year though. I love fresh tomatoes.

    Reply
  11. Hedy

    I used to live next to a family from Korea. They had several seasons of growing vegetables , but we are from the St Louis area so it’s not as cold as your area. I tried growing a tomato plant once and the bush was beautiful but I didn’t get one tomato! I’m just not a vegetable gardener but my flowers are fantastic. Good luck in your gardening this year.

    Reply
  12. Nancy

    I started out with three different type of elderberry trees about 4-5 years ago. Now I have an elderberry grove as they do spread out with a lot of shoots. This year will be my third year of harvesting the berries. I share with my birds as in the grove is also my bird feeder, butterfly house and flowers planted for the monarchs, birds, and the bees. Good luck Buck! Besides syrup, there is elderberry jam and pies.

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