Soft fruit is hard to beat

Got a gap in the gar­den? Fill it with soft fruit, urges Bob

Amateur Gardening - - Your Gardening Week -

WHAT are the eas­i­est, most valu­able and eas­ily stored crops in the gar­den? I reckon it has to be the soft fruit grown on bushes – the cur­rants and berries. Made into jams or frozen they’ll keep al­most in­def­i­nitely.

Black­cur­rants will grow and crop al­most any­where. Any piece roots so buy a choice new va­ri­ety or three, take and set a few more cut­tings than you need, and then give the pruned orig­i­nal to a friend. Hon­estly, in three years time this pro­duces bet­ter plants.

Like­wise red­cur­rants and white­cur­rants which are just as keen to root, grow and crop. They can even be trained flat on north- or east-fac­ing walls yet will still pro­duce fruit (though in fair­ness a lit­tle later and less sweet than if on a sunny wall).

Blue­ber­ries, mind you, are trick­ier. They need an acid soil or er­i­ca­ceous com­post so are usu­ally best grown in big tubs: I find an old bath holds two or three nicely. These then crop as heav­ily as the other berries – per­haps even more so if they’re con­tent.

Goose­ber­ries are happy with al­most any soil but need a nice airy po­si­tion. Put them in a stag­nant cor­ner and they sulk and get mildewed. So have your goose­ber­ries as bushes or trained on wires but never up against a wall.

Then there are all the black­ber­ries, rasp­ber­ries and their mul­ti­tude of hy­brids. All of this clan are hap­pi­est in

“Goose­ber­ries are happy with al­most any soil”

a leaf mould rich, moist soil, but still grow al­most ev­ery­where else.

How­ever, they do need sup­port. Most rasp­ber­ries form clumps but those with taller canes need to be tied onto wires or they flop on the ground.

The black­ber­ries and hy­brids pro­duce re­ally long canes and these just have to have wires to tie to or they’ll sprawl.

So what are you wait­ing for? Fill up every gap with soft fruit now!

Black­cur­rants root very eas­ily from cut­tings Juicy black­cur­rants… soft fruits are sim­ple to grow and boun­ti­ful

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