Enjoy the 'Soft' Fruits of Your Labour!
Now we are into Autumn it’s time to plan ahead ready for those delicious berries next year. October to December is the perfect time to plant soft fruit. Not only is it very satisfying to grow your own, it’s also delicious and a good source of vitamins and fibre, making a great contribution to a healthy diet. Soft fruits are easy to grow in either the garden or in containers (Blueberries and Gooseberries do particularly well in pots) so why not have a go at growing your own?
Get your beds ready by digging over, to get rid of weeds, and dig in some manure or soil conditioner. Most fruits will grow best in a reasonably rich, well-drained soil and for best results plant fruit (except Blueberries which need ericaceous compost) with Rootgrow to help roots establish quickly. Water well when the soil shows signs of beginning to dry.
Blackberries are an amazing fruit, not only naturally sweet, cholesterol free and low in sodium and fat, they are packed full with healthy vitamins, minerals and antioxidants such as Vitamin C and E. Blackberries love our climate and with the right variety will produce bumper harvests. When planting in the garden make sure to tie the plant to a support and it will flourish, making sure to remove any old fruited sections and retie new ones to a support. Our personal favourite is ‘Adrienne’ for its superb fruit quality and as vigour is moderate in comparison with other varieties, it's an excellent choice if space is limited.
Prepare the area by digging out trenches, incorporating plenty of manure as you go. Plant Raspberry canes around one foot apart. If you have room, grow at least two varieties to prolong the cropping season. Try ‘Malling Admiral’ to start you off and ‘Autumn Bliss’ to bear fruit until the first frosts. 'Autumn Bliss' raspberries are also a favourite in the Arthurs Kitchen in our Shortbread and polenta cakes.
Raspberry 'Malling Admiral' and Raspberry 'Autumn Bliss'
One of our most popular, reliable varieties is ‘Careless’. However, ‘Invicta’ has high yields and is more resistant to mildew.
Gooseberry 'Careless' and 'Invicta'
Redcurrants are another fruit that are very simple and inexpensive to grow, but which are so expensive to buy in the supermarkets. They are delicious tart fruits which can be eaten fresh or cooked into sauces, preserves and pies and other desserts. They are perfectly suited to our climate. Redcurrant bushes like sunshine, but too much can damage the leaves. Therefore look to plant currant bushes in a location with a bit of shade in the afternoon. Our favourite is the ‘Jonkheer Van Tets’ for its bright, juicy fruit that is full of flavour.
Redcurrants 'Jonkheer Van Tet'
Blueberries are increasingly popular fruits with well-documented health benefits. Blueberry plants are also exceptionally handsome bushes. The fruit can be eaten fresh, or frozen for out-of-season use. Plants require an acidic soil and ericaceous compost, and are well suited to containers. The plants offer year round interest with white blossoms in late Spring, glossy green leaves in summer and outstanding red foliage in Autumn. We recommend planting more than one variety to encourage cross pollination and extend your cropping period - for example, Blueberry 'Goldtraube' and Blueberry 'Patriot'.
Blueberry 'Goldtraube' and 'Patriot'
We have everything you need for successful fruit growing. Our soft fruits are now available and our plant experts are always on hand to offer tips and advice so get planting and enjoy the fruits of your labour next summer.