I hope I'm not too late for my two cents' worth. Aside from how long it will
take to have reasonably good production from the various choices, our garden
(exposed to all sorts of wildlife) is basically for my wife and myself.
We have about a dozen asparagus plants that are beginning their fourth year,
and they gradually produce more each year. We enjoy them in season for
ourselves and to share some with friends, but expect production to increase
I planted about a dozen red raspberries three years ago, and they have
multiplied prodigiously. We have enough each year for fresh, frozen, jam,
and making wine, etc. Being "labor intensive," I find that the Heritage
variety is perhaps best since I can mow them down at the end of each year to
control cane borers and a lot of pruning. Of course, having two crops a year
is a plus because the Japanese Beetles voraciously consume the early crop. I
pick practically all we ever need from late August-early September until the
first killer frost hits sometime in late October up here on the south shore
of Lake Erie.
We have about a hundred strawberry plants near the foundation on the south
side of our white sided house; they love the mini-climate there and produce
enough for both fresh and frozen. The downside is controlling slugs, but can
be done if one practices clean cultivation. . . which is easier said than
done, I've learned. Birds for some reason aren't a problem like they were
when we planted strawberries in the open field out in the countryside (we
live in the city now).
Ahhhh, Blueberries! Birds love 'em!! And, since the bushes take about five
years before mature enough to produce berries abundantly. . . well, plant
enough to share with the birds unless you can effectively protect your crop.
We planted three high bush and three low-to-the-ground in the past three
years. We have had none from the low plants (they need more time to
mature?), and probably a total of two quarts from the three high bush
blueberries -- so far. Each year has meant a little better crop in sort of
an exponential manner. I've built cages of 2"x4" welded fencing, in
diameters of about 30 inches and stack one inside the other (they're 4 feet
high) at a slightly rakish angle to increase their height as the bushes
grow. And I crown the top cage with a nylon netting to discourage birds. So
far (two years) it's worked, and I can expand the cage circumference as
needed. When pruning is no longer practicable -- there's enough for us AND
the birds -- I'll use my cages for composting bins.
Meantime I intend to keep planting a variety of berry bushes such as
gooseberry and currants, etc., because I've learned over the years that
having more is better than having little-to-none-at-all.