Berries and other small fruits don't require as much space to grow and full sized fruit trees. By growing a variety of berries, you can enjoy home grown harvests from early summer to late autumn. Read our guide and grow your own supply of fresh berries.
Cane fruits are bushes which produce fruit on 2 year old woody shoots, these resemble canes stuck in the ground hence the name. Raspberries, blackberries
Both bare rooted and potted fruit canes should be planted during their dormant season, i.e. between November and March. Soft fruit such as strawberries should be planted either in early autumn or early spring.
Fruit canes will prefer a rich moisture retentive soil which is slightly acidic, after preparing the ground they can be planted directly into the soil. It is helpful to plant them in rows to make it easier to train them up supports.
Fruit canes require very little care other than pruning during their dormant season to encourage new, healthy growth without overcrowding, the oldest stems should be removed leaving stems which are 1 season old to ensure a continued crop of fruit.
Fruits will mature at roughly the same time each year, the specific time will depend the variety as the berry picking season runs from late June through to October. Berries which are ready to be picked will be consistent in their colour, firm and juicy. If they appear under formed or overly soft then they are either not ripe or over ripe. Fruits such as strawberries are ready to be picked once they develop a consistent colour, the fruit will also give of the distinctive smell associated with that fruit. Avoid scratched sticky arms with a handy berry picker.
Fruit will not keep for longer than a few days to a week in a fridge and they are at their best as soon as they are harvested. Berries from canes can be stored in the freezer until needed alternatively they can be used to make preserves such as jam.
Fruit can be grown from seed although they very rarely come true, strawberries grown from harvested seed will usually produce a smaller inferior fruit than the parent plant.
Fruits readily produce runners during the season making it extremely easy to propagate from cuttings. To take a cutting you should allow a runner to develop its own set of roots then sever its connection to the parent plant. Propagating in this way will give a genetically identical plant to the parent.
Because of their readiness to produce runners, fruit plants react very well to being divided. This can also maintain plant health by reducing overcrowding