Gardening: A little effort and you can bear fruit

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There is nothing like the taste of freshly picked fruit and vegetables to create your own healthy, wholesome meals.

You don’t need to have your own allotment or a large garden as many fruit varieties can be grown in small containers, window boxes and indoors. Certain berries are labelled “super foods” because of their high levels of disease-fighting antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients.

Luke Chamberlain, horticultural manager at Dobbies Garden World Edinburgh, gives his top tips of how to grow summer fruits in your garden.

“Raspberries, blackberries and strawberries will all thrive in sunny, sheltered spots, but will also grow well in partially shaded areas,” he says.

“Late winter or early spring is the best time to plant, although strawberries can be planted well into the summer. You will need a fairly large container, as these plants can grow quite large – somewhere between 15 and 20 inches deeper and the same size in depth. Also, don’t place too many plants in the same container.

“Before filling with compost, place some broken pots or stones in the bottom, to help with drainage. Place your plant in the pot, with the root around four inches from the top of the soil.

“Keep regularly watered, especially in hot weather and when the fruit is forming. Water it from the bottom, as watering from overhead can rot and crown the fruit.”

To ensure your plants are kept looking their best, Luke offers the following advice: “As fruits start to develop, tuck straw underneath them to prevent strawberries from rotting. If birds are eating your fruit, cover them with bird-friendly netting.

“Pick fruit as soon as they have ripened to prevent rotting on the plant.”

n For more advice, head to Dobbies Garden Centre in Livingston or Edinburgh which has launched a new series of in-store gardening talks designed to offer customers simple and inspiring garden advice.