Many berries are easy to grow and they are perfect for an urban garden as they don’t take up much space and can be grown in pots.
There is a huge range of berries that can be grown, but the delicious and hardy cane fruit, such as blackberries and raspberry, have become oddly unusual in the home garden. But hopefully knowing a few tricks might inspire you to home-grow some deliciousness.
Position: Full sun, will tolerate part shade. For best results grow in free-draining soil.
In pots: Grow in at least a 40l pot. Half wine barrels are perfect and can hold 2-3 plants (they don’t need to be the same variety).
Fill the pot with a good potting mix, such as Kings Container Mix.
To keep the canes under control, use a wire frame around the pot or bamboo poles and wire to form a structure for them to grow over.
Growing in the ground: Mix in compost and sheep pellets with your soil before planting.
Grow in rows or individually. A post and wire system is a good solution to keeping them upright and productive.
Pruning summer and autumn fruiting varieties such as raspberry aspiring and ivory. These varieties fruit twice in a year, once in autumn (on this year’s growth) and in summer (on last year’s canes).
With these, in winter, prune this year’s canes back by around a third (cut back to a good bud) and remove any weak canes back right to the ground.
In autumn, remove last year’s canes at ground level.
Pruning summer fruiting varieties: Summer fruiting varieties fruit on second-year canes.
In autumn, cut the top 10cm off new canes, cutting back to a good bud, to encourage branching. Remove old canes to the ground after they have finished fruiting.
In winter, remove any thin and weak canes.
Words: Billy Aiken, Kings Plant Barn