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

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - East Kent Property - - GARDENS -

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

For ab­so­lute be­gin­ners or green-fin­gered ex­perts... www.ken­ton­


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