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Growing berries

How to grow your own strawberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants and raspberries.

berries Berries are one of the richest sources of vitamin C. In fact, dieticians tell us we should try to eat a portion of berries every day to keep our levels of infection-fighting antioxidants at a high level.

But they're none to cheap in the shops, so why not grow your own? And as it happens, autumn is the best time to plant your berries. Prof Walker shows us how...


Dig holes larger than the existing root system and insert the plants. Be sure the roots are not crowded or doubled under the plant. If container plants are used, be sure the roots of pot-bound plants are cut once or twice to allow better root spread and development. Place roots into hole and firmly pack soil around them.


A general garden fertiliser, citrus fertiliser or rose fertiliser is best applied in spring.


A very important part of growing your own berries is to prune your plants, and this process is different for every plant.

Pruning is undertaken to control growth, define shape, create flowering/fruiting branches for the following season and probably most importantly to remove dead, damaged and diseased areas of a plant. Here's how to prune...

strawberry When strawberries produce runners they then form individual roots which enables you to have many separate plants from the one plant.

A good trick that Prof uses is to place the runners into a 40 litre bag of compost. By lying the plastic bag on its side and putting holes into the plastic, runners can be planted into the bag providing a very simple and effective way of growing your strawberries in a small space.

raspberries Raspberries produce fruit on 2-year-old canes, which die after the crop has matured.

Raspberries should be allowed to produce long, unbranched canes rather than branched canes like the black and purple varieties. The new canes are, therefore, unpruned during their first season's growth.

Remove old canes, leaving new ones 5cm apart.

After the old canes die they should be removed as early as possible in order to remove sources of disease.

Redcurrants fruit on old wood, so pruning should be limited to thinning out and the removal of weaker branches.

Blackcurrants produce fruit on the previous year's growth, so it's important to encourage as much new growth as possible while ensuring that stems don't become too overcrowded.

blackcurrents A thick density of foliage and stems cuts down air circulation through the bush creating ideal conditions for diseases such as mildew. Therefore cut old wood out of the plant.

All types of currants are best pruned between late autumn and early spring when plants are dormant.

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