Berries are the perfect fruit – not only are they great to eat, versatile in their usage and add fabulous colour to desserts and baked goods, but they are packed with nutrients including good doses of Vitamin C, fibre and antioxidants. They are really easy to grow, occupy only as much space as you are willing to give them, and produce prolific quantities of fabulous fruit. They make jolly jars of jam and cheerful chunks of chutney when you have a bumper crop.
There is a wide range of Berries to choose from, some of which are known as Brambles, due to the fact that they have thorny or spiny canes and branches. Brambles are those tasty, colorful delights of early summer and autumn. The genus Rubus is divided into many species that include raspberries, blackberries, dewberries, loganberries and boysenberries. Berries include strawberries, blueberries and gooseberries.
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Berries are often treated as gourmet fruit because they don';t store well. They are easy to grow and are a desirable addition to any home garden. Summer-bearing brambles ripen right after strawberries, creating a succession of fruit crops.
Select a planting site higher than the surrounding area if possible, as this provides essential air circulation and water drainage, reducing disease and insect problems. Strawberries and blueberries can be successfully grown in containers if space is limited.
Pruning is essential for maximum fruit yields. Some gardeners prune their autumn-fruiting raspberries to the ground in early spring, sacrificing the summer crop for the sake of one big bumper autumn crop. Raspberry bushes send up suckering stems that must be cut out immediately with a sharp spade, although the black and purple varieties are a little tidier.
Brambles are adapted to a wide range of soils but do best when planted in well-drained, deep, fertile soil that is high in humus. A pH of 6.0 to 6.5 is preferred. Compared to raspberries, blackberries are more tolerant of heavy soils. Adding organic matter and planting in raised beds can be of help in avoiding diseases.
There are so many mouth-watering recipes that include berries. Here are just a few fabulous ideas: Berry-Yoghurt Ice, Raspberry Nectar, Loganberry Jam, Boysenberry Parfait, Blackberry Cocktail, Chocolate and Blackberry Brownies, Boysenberry Brulee (just dee-licious!), Bramble Crumble (yum!), Raspberry Pavlova and the all-time favourite, Blueberry Muffins.
An excellent variety of summer Raspberry with almost thornless 'canes' and bright glossy berries with an excellent flavour. Bred with good resistance to fruit rot. The fruit ripens in early summer. Plant in a sunny sheltered position. Deciduous.
Raspberries fruit on 2nd year 'canes' i.e. older wood. They need a support framework for the 'canes' to grow against. They love well rotted organic matter and will fruit best when given a well balanced fertilizer in early spring. It is also important that the soil does not completely dry out in summer.
Colour: White Habit: Spreading Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 100cm x spreads
'Wilamette' is a reliable, older variety of Raspberry with large deep red fruit with satisfyingly sharp tang. Fruit can be harvested over a 3 to 4 week period in early summer. Plant in a sheltered sunny position in soil that does not completely dry out in summer. Deciduous.
Raspberries fruit on 2nd year 'canes' i.e. older wood. They need a support framework for the 'canes' to grow against. They love well rotted organic matter and will fruit best when given a well balanced fertilizer in early spring.
Colour: White Habit: Spreading Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.5m x spreads
Black Beauty Elderberry is a valued plant for its medicinal and nutritional qualities. It is also a highly ornamental large shrub. Large deep green leaflets and fragrant white flower heads in summer followed by red-black berries that can be used for juicing or you may like to make some Elderberry Wine. Deciduous.
Elderberries are also valued because of the high iron content of the fruit.
Colour: White Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 4m x 3m
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Container: 2.5l ?
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This delicious Strawberry has large, conical shaped, dark red fruit with firm flesh and an excellent flavour. The main crop is ripe around December-January. Shows good disease resistance. Plant in well drained fertile soil and provide afternoon shade for best results. PVR.
To get the very best out of your Strawberry patch look at our 'How to' pages for growing tips.
A cross between a black currant and a gooseberry. Great for eating fresh or cooking. Forms a large bush with spines. The fruit is ripe when it goes almost black.
Prefers well drained moist soil. Plant is sun to part shade. Frost hardy. Deciduous.