Advice for Planting Soft Fruit

blackberries growing wildAutumn is a great time to plant soft fruit bushes and trees. In this article, we are going to give you some handy advice on ground preparation, how to plant your soft fruit bushes and trees, and which soft fruit is likely to be ripe for your garden (pun intended!).

Why Plant Soft Fruit?

Everyone loves soft fruit. The sweet flavour of ripe raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. Not to mention redcurrants, blackcurrants, and gooseberries. We stock them all, although our raspberries won’t be available until October.

When you grow your own soft fruit, you are free to pick it when you fancy a fruit crumble or a delicious fruit sponge. You can even snack in the garden if you need a pick-me-up!

Soft fruit is like having your own natural sweet shop in the back garden. What’s not to like about that?

Choosing the Right Spot for Soft Fruit

Soft fruit is easy to grow, even for beginners. You just need a well-drained spot. The only type of soil soft fruit hates is heavy clay because it soon gets waterlogged, although blueberries do prefer more acidic soil, so are best planted in special compost.

Once you have chosen a suitable spot, dig it over and loosen up any big clods of soil. Add some fertiliser or dig in a barrow full of well-rotted manure.

Next, select the varieties of soft fruit you want to plant. Now is an excellent time to think about planting soft fruit bushes, as the plants become dormant over autumn and winter. Dig a hole but not too deep. Examine the bush to see where the soil marks are and use this as a guideline. If you plant the roots too deep, you will smother them and the bush will die.

Water your bushes well after planting. It usually takes a plant several months to establish itself in a new spot, and regular watering is essential to avoid stressing the plant out. This is even more important in warm weather, so bear this in mind in case we are lucky enough to enjoy a hot and sunny September.

Pruning Your Bushes

Soft fruit bushes need pruning straight away. This encourages new growth and will help the plant acclimatise into its new position in your garden.

Planting Different Types of Soft Fruit

Raspberries like full or partial sun, but prefer a sheltered spot, so next to a wall is ideal. Plant your raspberry canes 45 cm apart. Prune regular raspberry canes down to 25 cm after planting.

Blueberries are better in containers. Make sure there is enough room for the root ball. Use rainwater to keep your plant moist, as tap water is too alkaline.

Redcurrants, blackcurrants, and whitecurrants are great all-rounders. They don’t like the wind, so make sure they are well sheltered. Plant them 1.2 m apart and prune them back to 10cm.

Gooseberries like plenty of room for their roots to grow. Keep them well watered. Prune them back by 50% after planting.

If you don’t have space in your garden, containers are just as good for soft fruits. Talk to us if you need any more advice!