Posts Tagged ‘soft fruit’

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.

Mr-Fothergills-growing-soft-fruits-for-beginners-strawberries

Strawberries

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.

 

Raspberries

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.

 

Mr-Fothergills-growing-soft-fruits-for-beginners-currantsCurrants

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.

 

Gooseberries

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.

Nation of Gardeners results: Blackcurrant Ebony

March 21st, 2014 | Nation of Gardeners, The vegetable garden | 0 Comments

We are all familiar with the traditional varieties of blackcurrant which produce small and round darkly coloured fruits, ideal for adding to pies and for making jam. However, modern blackcurrant breeding has produced two varieties which produce fruit more than double the size of standard types and, are sweet enough to eat straight from the bush. Blackcurrant Ebony is a variety selected for these qualities.

Our Nation of Gardeners were asked to plant Blackcurrant Ebony in February 2014 as part of a trial to test it’s yield and flavour.   The gardeners were asked to record details such as when the plant produces its first fruit from date of planting, yield and size of fruit, and the flavour to check for any variations around the country.

The table below charts their progress.

Location Elevation Date planted Date first signs of growth Notes
Cheshire 49m 17 February 11 March Planted in open ground in West facing part of garden.  4 degrees C at time of planting.
Renfrewshire 28m Planted to pots
North Devon 30-50m 20 February 3 March Planted in open ground in North East facing part of garden – intended to form part of an edible hedge eventually.  10 degrees C at time of planting. 3 March: new leaves forming
Worcestershire 55m 15 March 15 March Planted in open ground in South facing part of garden.  12 degrees C at time of planting.
Derbyshire 39m
Cumbria 90m 15 February Planted in exposed site in very wet well manured soil
Ceredigion 131m 20 February 6 March Planted in open ground in South West facing part of garden.  8 degrees C at time of planting
Bristol 55m 17 February 19 February Planted in open ground in South facing part of garden.  10 degrees C at time of planting
Suffolk 6m 19 February Planted in open ground in West facing part of garden.
Hertfordshire 150m 19 February Planted in open ground in South East facing part of garden.
Surrey 58m 20 February 5 March Planted in raised bed in South East facing part of garden.  6 degrees C at time of planting.
Pontypridd 157m 20 February 28 February Planted in open ground in South facing part of garden.  16 degrees C high and zero degrees C low at time of planting.  Loads of buds on plant very strong and growth was soon seen.
Buckinghamshire 66m 21 February Planted into pots.
Guildford 56m 23 February 3 March Planted outside in raised beds. Trimmed down to a couple of inches to encourage bushy growth.  3 March: looks healthy with new shoots appearing.
Gloucestershire 74m
Moray
Derbyshire 241m Heeled in 15 Feb.  Planted properly 23 Feb 21 March Planted in open ground in South facing part of garden.  4 degrees C at time of initial heeling in. 8 March: buds unfurling.  20 April: first blossom