Archives For Fruits

How to Grow Fruits – Great tips, advice and techniques for growing fruits at home or in the garden.

How to Grow Raspberries at Home

Raspberries are one of the traditional signs of an English summertime, they remind you of afternoons spent walking down country footpaths and stopping to sample the local brew and picking a few of nature’s sweets off of the bushes. It is no wonder that many people want to grow raspberries at home in their own garden.

There are a lot of different types of raspberries which you can grow at home and will fruit at different times of the year. You can harvest early in the summer, all the way through to mid-autumn.

When you grow raspberry plants at home, you do not need to have a vast crop to return an ample amount of fruit, which means they can be grown in nearly any garden, greenhouse or window box.

When to plant?

When you start to think about growing raspberries, you should definitely plant in early spring to make sure you give the plants the best chance of taking root and producing a bumper crop of fruit for you to enjoy.

Where to plant?

As with any other plant, you will want a weed free space which you have dug and rotated for a few weeks previously. It is vital to get an accurate planting depth on raspberries to make sure they stand a good chance of producing fruit. The old stems will already have a soil mark on them, showing how deep they were previously planted, you should match this level. This will involve a hole about 8cm deep, and once you have spread out the roots, you will need a width around 30cm.

What do you need?

The raspberry plants will progress best if they are given a support structure, you can use canes for this, but these should be inserted about 40cm apart, making sure the plants have sufficient room to grow.

You could even create a wire structure, using two large fence posts dug into the ground about 3 meters apart. Then using a galvanised wire create a ladder with steps around 70cm, 100cm and 160cm. This will provide the framework for the plants to grow up while still receiving the support they need.

If you do not have the space or the ability to dig two fence posts into your garden, you can achieve a frame by using just one and placing two raspberry plants at the bottom of the stake. The plants can then spread up the post and achieve a great visual effect.

Any essential techniques I should know?

  • Your plants should be about 45-60cm apart to allow for the roots to fully take and space out.
  • The plants should run in a north-south line, to avoid them shading each other.
  • Raspberry plants need annual pruning to ensure they provide a good crop year after year.
  • You must keep raspberries well watered when the garden is experiencing a dry spell. The plants should be damp nearly all of the time.
  • A raspberry plant will need a lot of food and water. You should ensure that you have prepared the soil with mulch and granular fertiliser before you plant your new crop.
  • Keep the soil topped up with a general purpose granular fertiliser during the spring months and then add further farmyard manure as needed.

When do I harvest the fruit?

You should regularly pick off the fruit from all your raspberry plants when it is firm to the touch. Gently pull the raspberry from the plant, making sure that you leave the plug behind. This is the essential part of the fruit that you do not want to ruin.

If you have planted a crop of a summer variety, they will be ready to harvesting around the start of early summer. If you have planted an autumn variety, these will be ready later on in the year and will be ready to be picked towards the end of summer.

You do not have to eat the lovely summer fruits straight away. Whilst it is true that they will make a great summer desert with a sprinkling of cream or a huge dollop of ice-cream, you could freeze them for later on in the year, bake them in a strudel or summer berry pie.

A lot of people will plant a raspberry plant with the express intention of making home their own preserves. The only issue you will face when you are finding the perfect recipe, will be the quantity of fruit it requires. You will probably need to stock pile for a few days in order to be able to meet this need and not decimate your plants.

Overall planting a raspberry plant at home in your garden is a great idea and it will need very little maintenance to produce a great crop fit for any dining table.

Let’s Talk About.. How to Grow Strawberries!

Strawberries are one of the most versatile and easy fruits to grow, which is great for those of us who wish to grow our own delicious varieties of one of the most popular British fruits. Thankfully, they’re able to tolerate a wide variety of soil types, from light and sandy to the heaviest of clay soils, so combining this with the fact that they’re simple in their demand of nutrients, strawberry varieties can be found growing all over the world.

They’re also able to survive most and flourish in all weather conditions, from the UK’s cold and wet weather to the extreme heats of Spain, which, seemingly, makes them a hardy fruit that’s a great starter for those of us just starting out in the world of fruit growing. The biggest negative however, is that as a fruit strawberries are subject to a range of diseases and nuisance pests.

How to grow Strawberries

How to grow Strawberries: Strawberries growing in the ground. Photograph by Robin Riat

How to grow Strawberries – So what do you need to know about growing conditions?

Let’s start with the ideal soil. Well-drained, rich in humus with an adequate water supply is the best. Strawberries love a pH level of around 6.5 and prosper best in soil which is weed and debris free. If you want to prepare your garden soil for strawberry growing for the first time, add garden compost at 1 barrow to 4m2. You will also need to add 75g per m2 of bone meal and the same of seaweed meal. If you think your earth is lacking nutrients, add one barrow of well-rotted manure (per 12 m2). You may also want to add 5cm layer of leaf-mould to the top 10cm of soil before planting to encourage healthy growth. In terms of light conditions, strawberries grow best in full sun and out of the direct wind. Remember that officially, planting should occur between the end of June and September.

How to grow Strawberries - What about useful tips and techniques?

  • Lay plants in rows every 35cm. Make sure they have enough room to grow. Keep them approximately 75cm apart.
  • Always pick ripe strawberries; otherwise they will rot and infect other fruit. Prevent this by checking plants every other day once ripening starts to occur.
  • Placing straw (barley) in and between plants will help subdue weeds and stop fruit coming into contact with the ground.
  • Once fruit starts showing, remove all dead leaves and check plants regularly for insects (especially aphids). If signs of infestation, take action with appropriate pesticides.
  • If any plants do not flourish, get rid of them right away, as they’re probably infected with a virus.
  • After cropping, clear up the plant bed immediately. Cut back the plants (leaving a stump of 10cm) and remove all dead leaves and straw. Keep soil watered and at a good pH level to ensure future growth.
  • After two to three yields, be prepared to move your strawberry planting location and start a rotational system, perhaps with a rhubarb crop.

How to grow Strawberries - Useful Tools and Equipment:

In addition to ensuring your soil is suitable for strawberry plants, you can also consider using a range of useful tools & products which will help you get the best out of your efforts.

  1. Strawberry Mats – Fabric strawberry mats can be placed at the bottom of each plant, instead of straw, and will help retain moisture.
  2. Bird Scaring Tape – This tape can be attached to small wooden poles around the plants. It will shake in the breeze or wind, creating a noise to frighten birds and prevent them from snacking.
  3. Hanging Baskets – Growing in these ensures your strawberries are safe and far away from slugs, snails and other soil dwelling pests.
  4. Polythene & Woven Polypropylene Covers – These covers act as protection from insects and other pests and enable the strawberry plants to flourish. Be aware the woven cover will allow water to pass through; however, if using polythene, you will need to find an alternative method to keep the soil and plants watered.

About the Strawberry plant.

Fragaria × ananassa, commonly known as strawberry or garden strawberry, is a hybrid species that is cultivated worldwide for its fruit. The fruit is widely appreciated for its characteristic aroma, bright red color, juicy texture, and sweetness. ~ Wikipedia

Credits: Title photograph courtesy of Glen Young