While it may seem a bit strange to be talking about delicious summer fruit at this time of the year. It is in fact a great time to be talking about them because now is the best time to plant fruit bushes so that you can enjoy homegrown fruit this summer.
We are berry mad at the moment in CountryLife because we have just taken delivery of a vanload of different Irish grown fruit bushes. They seem to be going down extremely well with customers too as a lot of people have come in over the past few days to buy some. By far gooseberry and raspberry plants are some of the most popular fruit that we get asked for, however currents are seeing a spike in popularity in recent years too.
Raspberries and Blackberries can be planted year-round in pots and now is an ideal to plant them for the best chance of a bumper crop this year.
A lot of customers were coming in to expand their existing fruit collections with new varieties and we have also had people coming in who want to start growing fruit for the first time. To these people I always start off by asking what fruit do they actually eat. There is no point in dedicating part of your garden to a gooseberry bush if you can’t stand the taste of them and the fruit will just go to waste.
Preparation is Key
No matter what fruit bush you ultimately decide to grow in your garden preparation is key to having a successful plant that produces mountains of fruit for you. You want to pick a spot in the garden that is nice and open with lots of natural light that will help your fruit to ripen during the summer.
I recommend digging a hole that is about twice the size of the root ball of your bush. This will give you the space to work in a good amount of well rotted farm manure into your planting hole which will give your fruit bush a great start. You also want to keep the area weed free to avoid any competition for food or water.
Growing Fruit in Small Gardens
If you have a small garden all is not lost however. You can still grow fruit bushes in your garden thanks to the introduction of dwarf varieties over the last number of years. These dwarf varieties do not grow as large as traditional fruit bushes but they still produce just as much fruit each year.
Many of them can be grown in large containers (old whiskey barrels are ideal) but I really find you only get 4/5 years out of them before you would be looking at replacing the bush or planting it out into the soil.
The great thing about growing fruit in containers as well is that you have it in a visible spot when it is covered in fruit but then move it out of sight when it does not look as attractive.
When growing fruit in containers though it is very important to keep them well watered and to give them a regular feed to ensure the plant has adequate nutrients.
Benefits of Growing Your Own Fruit
A major benefit of growing your own fruit at home is reducing your environmental impact. You can enjoy your own fruit for eating, making jams or smoothies and baking, without worrying where it was grown, how far it’s travelled or if it’s been treated with any nasty chemicals. And when your fruit bushes flower – the bees benefit too.
Eating more fruit and veg is one of the most important things you can do to improve you and your family’s health. Picking fruit fresh from your own garden will mean the vitamin content will be at its highest possible levels.
And of course you’ll save money as well as getting some valuable exercise and fresh air. What are you waiting for!
We’re here to help
If you have any questions about growing your own fruit at home, or need some tips to get started, talk to any of our horticulturists in store. We’d love to help.