There has been a real resurgence in veggie gardening over the past few years and by all accounts the trend will continue as more people discover the joys of growing and tending their own veggies. Not only can veggie gardening become a rewarding and all consuming hobby, but it provides a selection of healthy, cheap, fresh and delicious produce. Veggies are terrific, but what about fruit – it’s easy to grow if you follow a few guidelines, is delicious and incredibly healthy – a great crop to include in your kitchen garden!
It’s easy to pop a few fruit bushes into the end of your veggie bed or any garden for that matter. The benefit of planting fruit bushes (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries etc) as opposed to fruit trees (apple, pear, plum etc) is that they will start to produce fruit soon after planting – in many cases, the same year. Here are a few tips to help you get started with your fruit patch:
- Fruit plants are perennial – your fruit bushes will produce for several years, so consider the location carefully and leave enough space for them to grow.
- Location – full sun is best, away from trees which will shade and take moisture away from the plants. Light and warmth are necessary to ripen the fruit and promote the development of next year’s buds.
- Improve your soil – before you plant is an ideal time to add some well rotted manure or compost to your soil. This will help with the general health and longevity of your plants.
- Animal pests – be aware that you are not the only one who enjoys a good meal of ripe fruit. Birds, ground hogs, rabbits and deer may enjoy a nibble or a feast also. If this bothers you, be prepared to cover the bushes with chicken wire.
- Now is the time – as soon as your ground is ready, you can plant. Since the plants are perennial, they can tolerate frost, so early planting is fine.
- Katie’s favourites – choose from raspberries, blackcurrants, rhubarb, gooseberries, strawberries and blueberries, but if I had to pick 3 favourites, they would be strawberries, raspberries and rhubarb. Strawberries can also be grown in pots.
Let me know how your fruit patch develops and I’ll be over soon for a piece of pie!