● You can grow goji berries in USDA zones 5 through 8, and the plant itself is adaptable to many different growing areas. Preferably, plant the goji berry plant in full sun in a well-drained soil, though they are extremely tolerant of partial shade and drought conditions as well. Stake it to the strongest canes for an easier harvest, and plant your berry plants about five feet apart to allow for optimal growth, as the mature height is five to six feet tall and five feet wide. In springtime the goji berry plant produces purple flowers, which are followed by fruit. The harvest season is quite long and can last up to three to four months and, as the plant is everbearing, it will continue to flower and fruit until the first frost. The goji berry fruit is a bright red, and has the appearance of a pepper. Pruning is recommended after the plant goes dormant (drops its leaves for winter) in the late fall–early winter, as the flowers are produced on the new wood.
- The goji berry is referred to as a "superfood" because it is high in antioxidants and has many medicinal uses. The fruit contains 400% more vitamin C than oranges, which helps support overall immunity. The list of its medical benefits is extensive and the goji berry is used to assist with the following:
- Cancer treatment - helps prevent tumor growth of cancer, reduces the reproduction of the cancer cells, prevents cell degeneration due to cancer, and reduces side effects of current chemotherapy treatments,
- Auto-immune diseases,
- Protecting the kidneys and liver,
- Detoxifying the body of any carcinogens and heavy metals,
- Cardiovascular disease,
- High blood pressure,
- High cholesterol,
- Poor circulation,
- Blood clots,
- Respiratory infections and asthma,
- Alzheimer's disease - helps slow down memory loss,
- Digestive health,
- Urinary treatment,
- Low libido,
- Poor concentration,
- Weight loss,
- Eye health - protects from eye disease while increasing eye vision, and prevents cataracts,
- The medical benefits can be obtained in various ways: the fruit can be eaten fresh, dried, or in the form of a juice. It is recommended to consume two to three grams of dried berries a day to promote better body health, but the exact dosage varies from person to person (dependant on weight, height, etc.).
- To extend the shelf life of the goji berry it is highly recommended that you dry the fruit. You do not have to refrigerate the dried fruit, as it will last in an airtight container for between two to three years, but if refrigerated you can increase the shelf life by an additional year. If the berries are not dried or refrigerated then the fresh fruit would only last for one year. Most people enjoy the berries at room temperature, so having some for fresh eating is a great idea. If you want an indefinite storage plan for the goji berry, freeze the dried fruit in an airtight container.
- In addition to being a "superfood," the goji berry will help attract deer to your property and increase your meat supply. Wild game birds will come to eat the ripe fruit but you can protect the fruit with a net while hunting the birds for a fresh meal for the whole family.