Regardless of the size of your garden plot, nothing will help you get special added pleasure from your plot than harvesting your own berries. You can use these tiny morsels of fruity goodness for a wide range of dishes-on top of pancakes, ground up in smoothies, or just pop them straight into your mouth. Nothing brings home the summer's flavours to your palate than freshly picked sweet berries. Planting berries are easier than you think, here is our quick guide.
Blackberries and raspberries are examples of bramble fruit. WHen planting these, locate them far from places where passersby might get their clothing snagged. They grow from last year's shoots. These long shoots fruit and flower only once in the shoots' second year. They don't flower anymore after they've given off fruit. Prune accordingly. Also keep in mind that brambles, if left unmanaged, will root underground and produce a really thorny mess of twigs and thickets. You have to prune these meticulously by taking out broken canes and wild outcroppings. Make sure the canes are well spaced apart. This spacing also helps keep them from developing mildew.
How to grow strawberries
Unlike the thorny bramble berries, strawberries are more straightforward. Plant starter plants in the spring on soil that is rich in humus. Make sure their bed gets a lot of sun. Mulch with grass clippings or compost. After a while, wiry runners show up. Trim these to conserve the strawberry's nutrients to developing bigger fruit instead of growing other strawberries. You also need to use a fruit net so rodents and birds don't rob you of this sweet red fruit.
Blueberries are more challenging to grow. They require acidic soil of around pH 4. Since this soil quality is too acidic for most gardens, you may have better luck growing blueberries in pots with acidic soil mixes. Ideally, you can plant them in wooden barrels. Use a mix of 20% perlite, 40% coir, and 40% peat moss. Stir in a cup of soil sulfur to help notch the soil pH down. You can then leave the half barrel out, or you can bury it up its rim. If you plan to keep the barrel freestanding, put some leaf bags around it during the fall.
To produce decent amounts of blueberries, prune around March or early in April. In your plant's first year, take out the flower buds. Take out low or overlapping branches. Take out the oldest canes first. Next, prune any shoots that are damaged, spindly, or weak. Don't hold back in your pruning-you can safely take off up to 20% of the plant's growth from last year.
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