It's time to start
planting berries to get your just desserts.
There's a very good reason
for growing your own berries. Berry fruits are so soft when they're
ripe that they are easily damaged. It's much better to grow your
own and enjoy them when they're fresh and fully ripe.
Winter is a good season
to think about planting raspberries because packaged raspberry canes
appear in the shops at this time of year. Packaged raspberries are
fantastic value, but you need to be quick because they're only available
for a relatively short period.
Raspberries do best in
areas with cold winters, where they'll grow happily in full sun.
In warmer places, raspberry plants prefer a little bit of protection
in the afternoon.
The first thing to do
before planting is to clear away weeds because their competition
will really slow the growth of the raspberries. Do this by spraying
weeds with Roundup (fortunately Roundup breaks down rapidly in the
soil so won't leave any harmful residues).
After the weeds have
died they can be dug into the soil. At the same time, mix in some
Nature's Way Bio Gold pellets and some Yates Superphosphate, which
will encourage good root growth. Before planting, place some supportive
stakes at the end of each row.
Prune raspberries in
mid-winter by removing old canes that have already fruited. In late
winter, feed with Yates Gro-Plus Citrus Food.
If you think that your
garden isn't cold enough for raspberries, don't despair. Strawberries
can be grown in almost any climate and they don't even need a garden
bed. Because the plants are relatively small, they suit containers
(guess how strawberry pots got their name?) or hanging baskets.
Strawberries can be grown
from packaged crowns, small plants or runners. Packaged crowns are
available in winter and, because they usually possess a substantial
root system, they'll give the plants a head start. Small strawberry
plants in mini pots are easier to find in the warmer months.
Runners are the sideways-growing
shoots that eventually develop mini plants at their ends. These
mini plants can be detached from the 'mother' and can be moved to
new garden beds or pots.
Grow strawberries in
a raised bed or a container filled with good quality potting mix
(Yates Macro Blend or Patio & Tub Mix would be suitable). Feed regularly
with Nitrosol and, most importantly, sprinkle some Blitzem or Baysol
pellets to protect the fruit from snails and slugs.