Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Berried Treasure ; IT'S A CINCH TO GROW YOUR OWN SOFT FRUITS AND YOU WILL ALSO BE REWARDED WITH A FEAST FOR YOUR EYES WITH PRETTY FLOWERS AND SHINY BERRIES

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Berried Treasure ; IT'S A CINCH TO GROW YOUR OWN SOFT FRUITS AND YOU WILL ALSO BE REWARDED WITH A FEAST FOR YOUR EYES WITH PRETTY FLOWERS AND SHINY BERRIES

Article excerpt

ORGET the supermarket.

FImagine walking out your back door to pick the freshest, juiciest soft fruits. Nothing beats harvesting your own crop as it ripens.

And you don't need an orchard, allotment or greenhouse - fruit bushes or small trees can fit in your borders and will thrive in containers.

A lot of these plants have lovely flowers, too. Strawberries produce attractive white, red and pink flowers, as do currants.

Blueberries have little bell-like flowers, making them an attractive addition and good talking point.

Many fruits love growing up against a sunny wall or fence.

If you're really short of space, pick dwarf varieties that don't grow too big in terms of height and spread.

Raspberries, blackberries, currants and blueberries all thrive alongside strawberries in the British climate.

Redcurrants, blackcurrants or white currant bushes produce a phenomenal amount of fruit early on and are low maintenance. I like to plant all three types together. They look stunning in the garden. Most bushes cost between Pounds 10 and Pounds 20 each - cheap, given they will be producing fruit for a decade and getting bigger and better every year.

Soft fruit will grow in most soil types, but ideally it should be rich and well-drained - they don't like heavy and waterlogged so dig in lots of organic matter if you have clay soil.

Dig over the area before planting to loosen the soil and then add a handful of slow-release fertiliser. Container-grown fruit bushes can be planted out at any time. But bare-root bushes, which are cheaper to buy, need to be planted in autumn or winter while they are dormant.

Always avoid putting new plants in too deep. This can smother the roots and kill the plant. Use the soil mark on the stems as a guide.

Some of these plants need pruning immediately after planting. This will help them survive the move and produce vigorous new growth.

And remember to keep new plants well-watered in dry spells for the first few months, at least until their root systems get established. So avoid planting right before you go on holiday.

RASPBERRIES THERE are two types of raspberries: floricane (summer fruiting) and primocane (autumn fruiting). Floricanes produce all their fruit in one go in early summer. Primocanes produce a slower crop from high summer right up to the first frosts.

Choose a sheltered spot in full sun or partial shade and dig a hole wide enough for the rootball. Plant and backfill with soil, spacing the canes 45cm apart. Water well and keep watered during dry spells or the canes may die.

Most regular canes need pruning back after planting to 25cm from the ground. Some types of summer-fruiting canes, sold as long canes, are prepared to fruit the first year after planting and should not be pruned.

BLACKBERRIES are ramblers and need something to grow up or over. Choose a well-drained, sheltered spot in full sun or partial shade and put in trellis or attach horizontal wires to a nearby wall or fence panel for support. …

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