Gardening: Sweet success with berries

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THERE is nothing like the taste of freshly picked summer fruit, such as strawberries and raspberries, and with summer on our doorsteps now is the perfect time to plant.

You don’t need to have your own large garden as many fruit varieties can be grown in small containers, window boxes and indoors.

Andrew Gold, plant manager at Dobbies Garden World, Melville, gave us his top tips on growing super fruits.

He said: “Raspberries, blackberries and strawberries will all thrive in sunny, sheltered spots, but will also grow well in partially shaded areas.

“First up, 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 the container with compost, be sure to place some broken pots or stones in the bottom of the container, 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 from the bottom, as watering from overhead can rot the fruit.”

Your plant should start to bear fruit in mid-summer, continuing through to mid-autumn.

Pick fruit as soon as they have ripened – and enjoy with lovely fresh cream!

PICK OF THE BUNCH

• Strawberries – Take up little space, are easy to maintain and can be eaten straight from the plant.

Because they trail they are ideal for planting in containers or hanging baskets and the plants are cheap and easy to propagate. Plant outdoors from late spring until September for a crop the following summer.

• Raspberries – Are a rich source of vitamin C and antioxidants, a great summer fruit.

• Blackberries – Similar to raspberries, blackberries rank highly among fruits for antioxidant strength. The way to identify this is that the plant will have at least two stems of pencil thickness.