Tips for Health

Tips for growing healthy, tasty berries

By on November 6, 2012 in Health with 0 Comments

These days, more and more of us are attempting to grow our own fruit and veg. Berries are a brilliant choice for the former, and I recently gave cultivating strawberries a go. It turns out that, compared to other berries, strawberries are pretty tricky, so after a bit of research I’ve found a couple that are much simpler.

Raspberries and blueberries are both far easier for novice gardeners, with the latter being particularly convenient for those us with small (or virtually non-existent!) gardens. I’ve put together some key tips for growing each, so there’s no excuse not to try it!

Blueberries

If you’re a bit short of space, blueberries are a great fruit to grow because they work well in containers. Plus, they’re not too heavy on the maintenance front, which is good news for newcomers to gardening!

The first thing to bear in mind is that, while the berries are easy to grow, the kind of soil you use is pretty important. Blueberries need a pH of between 4 and 5.5; if the soil in your garden doesn’t fit this description or if you’re simply unsure how to tell, it’s well worth planting your berries in a pot with ericaceous compost, just to be on the safe side.

Blueberries need a lot of sun, so try to position them away from shady areas, and you should plant them in autumn or winter, aiming to water them with rainwater if possible. If it’s not, tap water will do, but this can make the soil less acidic over time, which means you might not get as good yields.

Another good thing about blueberries is that you don’t need to do much pruning, especially for the first two or three years you have them. After that, they can produce less fruit if you don’t prune, so try to do it reasonably regularly.

And when can you eat the fruits of your labour (sorry about the pun!), you ask? Generally speaking, they are ready to pick when they are a deep shade of blue.

Raspberries

Another easy fruit to grow, raspberries do require a little more kit than blueberries. So, if you’ve got things like canes and such stacked up in your shed, now’s the time to get them out. On that note, if you are just starting out with gardening and you fancy finding out a bit more about the various storage options available, you can do so¬†here.

There are lots of different varieties of raspberry, but they key choice you’ll need to make is whether to grow summer-fruiting or autumn-fruiting species. The latter are usually considered to be much simpler, since they grow and fruit in the same season and are typically hardier come winter, so I’d focus on those.

Purchase some raspberry canes and plant them in the autumn, around 40 cm apart from each other. You’ll usually find there’s a mark on the stem where they previously sat in the soil, so do your best to plant them to the same depth.

The plants require some support – which is where your trusty canes come in – so it’s good to use these from the outset. The following autumn, the fruit is ready to be picked when it’s firm, and it’s best to do so regularly. You can then prune in the winter, leaving the canes ready to fruit again the following year.

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