Posts Tagged ‘raspberries’

Growing soft fruits for Beginners

March 1st, 2018 | News | 0 Comments

In a few weeks fruit bushes will be bursting into leaf, ready to start a new season of delicious abundance.

Many soft fruits are both heavy cropping and surprisingly easy to grow; and when you consider how much it costs to buy them in the shop, there is every reason to grow them!

If you have never tried growing fruits before, watch this video, it will show you how to grow soft fruits for beginners.



With so many varieties you could be picking fruits from spring all the way through to autumn.

Strawberries will crop the first summer of the planting, and because they aren’t woody plants, the only pruning they need is pruning back the leaves after fruiting.

Fruits that lie on bare sole can rot, you can protect them by laying straw around them when they begin to flower. You can even enjoy a late crop of strawberries by protecting them with row covers or cloches.



There are two types of raspberries: summer fruiting and autumn fruiting or fall bearing .  Autumn fruiting raspberries are the easiest to grow because they only need minimal support to stop them flopping over. Pruning couldn’t be easier too. Simply cut back on the old canes in late winter, ready for new canes to replace them in spring. Autumn fruiting raspberries produces a steady supply of berries from late summer to the first frosts.


Blackberries and Hybrid Berries

Most modern varieties are thornless and their fruits tend to be bigger and sweeter than their wilder counterparts. The canes are vigorous and generally trouble-free. Simply tie them to support to maintain order and cut out old canes to encourage new growth.

Hybrid berries such as boysenberry or tayberry are the result of a cross between the blackberry and other cane fruits; often raspberry or another hybrid. The result are tasty berries, all easy to grow and all juicy and delicious.



With red, white and black currant to choose from you’re immediately spoilt for choice. All currants crop well, producing heavily laid in clusters or streaks of currant to eat fresh, use into sauces or turn into jam or jelly. They also go wonderfully with apples in pies!

Red and white currants prefer cooler climates and will even grow well in shade. If you got a sweet tooth, opt for white currants. Which tend to be a little sweeter than reds.

Blackcurrants require very little care. They even crop when neglected; But prune them in winter to remove some of the older branches, and you will encourage a lot of new, healthy growth and plenty of fruits.



They are near to indestructible and will strive in any soil, though it prefers cooler climates and some shelter from the wind. You can choose between culinary varieties and desert varieties.

Gooseberries will produce their fruits even when neglected, but if you show some care by feeding, pruning and mulching, you will have many fruits to enjoy every summer.

They have been some restrictions for growing gooseberries and currants in the United States. The reason is that they served as intermediary host for the white pine blister rust disease, which is fatale to white pines. Thankfully, modern breedings created varieties resistant to the disease and restrictions have been lifted in most states. However, there are still some restrictions in some area, so make sure to check the situation where you live before planting.


General care

Generally, soft fruits require less space than trees, and are quicker to reach maturity, so you won’t have to wait long before your first pickings. Container growing soft fruits can be planted at any time of year, while bare root fruits are best planted from late Winter to early spring; or in milder climates from autumn onwards.

Keep your soft fruits striving by watering thoroughly once a week in dry weather, especially in the first year.

In spring, top up with mulch, such as compost, to help feed the plants, while improving soil structure. Lay it at least a couple of inches or 5cm thick, taking care to keep it clear of the canes or trunks of the plant.

You may find birds like your fruits as much as you do. Netting or a walk-in fruit cage will keep them off.

While soft fruits are delicious eaten fresh, most currants and berries can also easily be frozen or dried, to enjoy later in the year.



These are just a few tips and ideas to help you grow soft fruits for the first time. If you are already growing fruits let us know which ones in the comments below or head over to our Facebook and Twitter page and tell us what you would recomend for beginners.

Care and Cultivation of Raspberries

March 2nd, 2015 | The vegetable garden | 0 Comments

When you receive your new raspberries,  unpack and check them immediately to ensure they are what you ordered and in the condition you’d expect.

What to do First

raspberry plants and canes from Mr Fothergill'sBare-root canes – After unpacking, inspect the roots and, if dry, stand the plants in a bucket of water for up to an hour (not longer) to moisten the root system thoroughly.

Plant as soon as possible but, if ground is not ready or too wet, temporarily ‘heel’ the plants into a shallow trench on a spare patch of ground, covering the roots with moist soil.

Alternatively, if there’s no ground available in a workable condition, wrap the roots in damp hessian or newspaper to protect them from drying and stand the plants in a cool shed or garage until conditions improve.

Potted canes – Water them if they look dry and plant as soon as possible. If ground is not ready or soil conditions are unsuitable, stand them temporarily in a sheltered place outdoors. Check them regularly to ensure they don’t dry out.


Soil Preparation and Planting

Raspberries will remain in the same patch of soil for a number of years and need good soil preparation as well as a strong support system. A slightly acid soil suits them best and on heavy soil they will do better if planted on a raised bed or ridge.

unusual raspberry plantsChoose a sheltered, sunny area of the garden away from cold drying winds. Although raspberries tolerate part shade, they fruit best in sun.

Plant in rows 1.8m (6ft) apart, each running north to south to catch maximum sunlight and supported on a system of posts and wires about 1.8m (6ft) in height. Strain wires horizontally between the posts at 60cm (2ft) intervals, starting with the first wire at about 45cm (18in) from the ground and rising to the last wire at about 1.7m (5½ft) high.

Raspberries require a well-drained, rich, moisture-retentive soil to thrive, so dig out a trench where the row is to be and incorporate plenty of well-rotted organic matter like farmyard manure into the soil at the bottom.

Be sure to remove all perennial weeds as you dig and, just before planting, rake in a dressing of a balanced fertiliser such as growmore or blood, fish and bone to give the plants a boost this season.

Plant bare-root canes with the roots well spread out in each planting hole, setting the plants out 40cm (16in) apart. The uppermost roots should be no more than 5cm (2in) below the soil, since deeper planting will discourage plants from producing new canes this season. Set potted canes so that the tops of the rootballs will be about 2.5cm (1in) below the soil surface. After planting, tread the soil around the roots to firm the canes in.

Finish by cutting the stem growth back to approximately 25cm (10in) above soil level. Plants establish much better if they are not allowed to fruit in their first season.

Since raspberries are often attacked by birds, particularly when grown on allotments, take this opportunity to provide supports for bird-proof netting. A permanent fruit cage, though initially expensive, is the easiest to manage.


Aftercare Tips

Raspberry Polka canes from Mr Fothergill'sRaspberries benefit from an annual mulch of organic matter, like well-rotted manure or good quality, weed-free garden compost, to suppress weeds and conserve soil moisture. Spread it thickly every spring on the surface of the ground while the soil is still moist from winter rain. Gradually over the years it will improve the soil’s structure, drainage qualities and ability to hold plant nutrients in the root zone.

Each year in March, at the same time as you mulch, top-dress the plants with some balanced compound fertiliser and a high potash fertiliser to encourage flowering and fruiting.

When you weed round raspberry canes, be careful with the hoe, since these are shallow-rooting plants which are easily damaged by an over-enthusiastic hand.

In dry weather, and particularly on light soils, give canes a generous watering about every two weeks



Summer-fruiting varieties carry fruit on wood produced in the previous season. Each year, immediately after you’ve picked the crop, cut the fruited canes back to the ground. Then select the healthiest and most vigorous of the young growth produced in the current season, cutting out the rest. Tie in the new canes so that they are spaced about 7.5-10cm (3-4in) apart on the wires. You should aim to have 6-8 fruiting canes each year per raspberry ‘stool’ or plant.

At the end of the winter, cut the new canes back to about 15cm (6in) above the top wire. If this is not done the tops may later snap off under the weight of fruit.

Autumn-fruiting (Primocane) varieties are pruned in exactly the same way, cutting the old canes back to soil level each year. However, since these fruit on the current season’s wood, prune the canes in February. The strong growth made during spring and summer will carry fruit in the autumn of the same year, at the tip of each cane.