If you’d like to grow some fruit at home then I’d start with blueberries and raspberries. They’re expensive from super markets, and usually in plastic punnets, but actually very easy to grow!
These are a brilliant way to extend your raspberry harvesting time. Especially useful if you’re away in August. As well as giving you a later crop they can be more successful than summer ones. The abundant supply of berries in the hedgerows by September, when they fruit, means they are less likely to be devoured by birds.
Work a 4″ layer of compost into the soil. Plant each cane 60cm apart to a depth of 8cm (3in), gently firm them in, and water well. Once planted, cut the canes to 25 cm from the ground to encourage lots of basal shoots.
We’ve had a blueberry plant for at least 5 years in a pot by our outdoor dining table that produces huge quantities of blueberries every year. Since we’re on alkaline soil and blueberries are acid-loving having them in pots works best. They blossom, they fruit and they have fantastic autumn colour. Underplant them with strawberries or annuals.
Plant up your bare root blueberry in a large terracotta pot (about 45cm diameter by 40cm high) in ericaceous soil. Put a few crocks in the bottom of the pot and half fill with compost. Then set the plant slightly deeper than the soil line and fill in with more compost. I plant mine directly into the pot but I like how Sally Nex plants hers on the Crocus You Tube channel, where she lines her pot first. She’s using a potted plant rather than a bare root because its further into the year when bare root plants are no longer available.
I’m just starting these posts so all feedback is very welcome. Happy planting and let me know if you have any questions!
Where to buy
Other things to do this week
- Keep mulching beds. Go over them with a fork to remove any weeds and then add up to 6″ compost on top.
- Look out for flocks of migrating birds. Both Fieldfares ( about the size of a blackbird with a white underwing) and Redwings (smaller with a red underwing) are about at the moment.
- If you have the space, think about planting an apple or plum tree.
- Force any rhubarb crowns by covering them with straw, an old upturned bucket or a traditional clay rhubarb pot.
- Browse David Austin, Peater Beale and Trevor White for ideas of roses to plant. You have till mid march to plant better value bare root roses. Roses I’ve planted this season include Mdme Alfred De Carriere, Felicite Perpetue, The Fairy, Ispahan and Albertine.
Go and See
- The Forgotten Masters: A Collection of Indian Paintings for The East Indian Company at The Wallace Collection. The botanical paintings are so soft and colourful. Much freer than European botanical painting.