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Delicious Soft Summer Fruits

Hints &Tips

an article by our feature writer Christine Walkden






Strawberries are my favourite soft fruit and when planted in containers or the open ground, provided they are planted in a sunny sheltered and well drained site, they should go on to produce a great crop

When planting I like to create a slight mound and then I spread the roots of the plant evenly over the mound. The growing point or crown of the plant should be just slightly deeper than when the plant was growing in the pot.

Spacing depends on the variety but generally a spacing of about 30-45cm between the plants and 60cms between the rows is fine.

Once planted make sure they are well watered in especially if conditions are dry. Apply a general fertilizer in April such as Growmore at 70gms per square metre. Mulch the crop in May and apply a potash rich fertiliser after fruiting.

Once the fruits start to form, place some straw underneath the ripening fruit and protect the fruit with your normal method slug control. Once they change to a good ripe colour pick them regularly.


Raspberries and Blackberries

Raspberries and Blackberries need a support system and in my experience a simple post and wire framework is sufficient. Space the upright posts 3 metres apart and string the wires about 45cm apart. Plant the canes according to the planting instructions supplied with the plants and then train the canes in the wires as they grow.

Follow the feeding and pruning instructions carefully and you should be rewarded with flavoursome fruits for your efforts. Once the fruits start to ripen ensure you pick them regularly as they do not stay in good condition on the plant for very long.

Remember if freezing the fruit, handle them very carefully as they bruise easily. Excess fruit which isn’t eaten fresh or frozen can be used to make delicious jams or pies.



Blueberries and Gooseberries


Blueberries have very specific soil requirement and these should include being of a  high organic matter content and acidic. Plants do well in containers, planted in ericaceous compost however ensure that the containers never be allowed to dry out. Feeding and pruning guidelines are included with the instructions sent with your plants.



Gooseberries are grown on bushes and should be spaced at about 150cm apart and planted at the same depth as they are growing in the pot. They will prefer a good sunny pot but are capable of producing a satisfactory crop in light shade. Feed as per the care instructions supplied with the plants. Prune by cutting back to a third of the branch length in September/October. Remove any unwanted shoots and shape to produce an open bush just like the currants.

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