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Berry, berry nice

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.

Growing Raspberries

Raspberries

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.

Growing Strawberries

Strawberries

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.

Yates

 

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Reproduced with permission from NZOOM Home and Garden content,
from the previous website of  TVNZ News

The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH
 
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Last updated: June 2, 2004