Think ahead and reap the rewards
Gardeners should be enjoying the fruits of their labour in the coming weeks but it’s never too early to be planning for next year
They should be ready for picking from late summer, when the fruits are jet black and slightly soft. Good varieties include the thornless Loch Ness, a compact type which produces berries from mid-August, and Fantasia, which bears huge berries in late August. to two or three plants per module. Once they are large enough, plant them outdoors in rich, fertile soil containing plenty of nitrogen and cover with netting to protect them from birds. You should be eating new leaves around eight weeks after planting. Try Mediana, a useful all-round variety for sowing in spring or summer to produce baby leaves, or in autumn to grow under cover for cutting the following spring. Many varieties will overwinter, including Early Prickly Seed which will regrow after a harsh winter, and Bordeaux, with bright red leaf stalks, which can be sown from July to September. be grown in warm areas with the protection of a fairly high south-facing wall or fence but the flowers come early and the fruits need a lot of time to ripen. So it’s probably best to start them off in a greenhouse and keep them there at flowering time to protect them from frost. The trees need deep, welldrained but moisture-retentive soil, with plenty of organic matter added. They should be planted in September and respond well to fan training. They are self-pollinating so you can grow single trees, but, as they blossom before many insects appear, it’s wise to hand pollinate them as well. The easiest cultivars to grow in pots are compact or patio cultivars, standard trees on high stems with a ball-like head. In late winter peach trees need to be sheltered to keep off the rain and stop peach leaf curl developing.
Think ahead and you could be enjoying your own crops of delicious blackberries, spinach and peaches
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