Soft fruit is hard to beat
Got a gap in the garden? Fill it with soft fruit, urges Bob
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