Varieties of berry bushes
Planting with berries is an achievable goal for any gardener, as they blend seamlessly into the landscape. Strawberries can be a border, and berry bushes such as blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries can be a hedge in a garden.
Note! Winter-hardy varieties are chosen that are well suited to the growing area. Plants must be certified. Before buying, it is also necessary to determine whether the plant is self-fertile or if another plant is required to produce fruit (cross-pollination).
The first berries that ripen in spring are strawberries. The homemade strawberry is the most popular fruit for the home garden. This is one of the simplest and most useful crops. Choose different varieties of strawberries that bear fruit at different times in order to harvest them over a longer season.
There are spring (June) and remontant varieties of strawberries. For our region, varieties are mainly recommended for June. Before planting, check all plants for signs of pests and diseases. Planting strawberries is very simple, it can be done in autumn or spring.
After three to four years, the size and quality of the fruit deteriorates, so the plants will need to be replaced with a new rootstock. The easiest way to do this is to propagate your own plants from the shoots they produce. “Daughter” plants obtained through shoots provide a healthy strawberry bed for many years.
Additional Information! The shoots connected by a long stem are plucked off during their productive season to ensure better berry production.
Strawberries need to be weeded regularly, as they do not like to be crowded. They maintain a balance between mother and daughter plants, and do not allow the bed to overflow.
Strawberries need soft soil, free from stagnant water, to which they are very sensitive. Grows best in sandy, loamy soil, but will grow anywhere in well-drained soil that is well supplied with organic matter. Prefers to grow next to members of the nightshade family, such as eggplant and tomatoes. He does not like the southern sides, where there is too much sun, which can interfere with the harvest of berries. Strawberries are planted in rows, the width between plants is 30 cm, between rows – 50 cm.
Blueberries and lingonberries
These members of the Vacinium genus require acidic soil (pH 4.5–5.5) to grow well. If the soil is not as acidic, changing the pH of the soil in the area is more of a challenge. Start making changes to the soil about a year before planting, adding peat, moss, coffee grounds, and pine needles. Once the pH of the soil has been adjusted, the acidity will need to be maintained by using an acidic mulch material such as pine needles.
Blueberries are the species we are accustomed to finding in the wild. However, there are varieties of blueberries (blueberries) that can be grown in the garden. Blueberries form small bushes that are easy to care for.
The easiest way to start a seedling is to buy it in a nursery, and then propagate blueberries with cuttings, getting plants for free. Blueberry varieties selected and supplied by nurseries are much better suited for fruit production.
To keep the plants productive, fertilize them once or twice a year with granular organic fertilizers designed for acid-loving shrubs.
Raspberry and blackberry
Raspberries belong to the “small fruits” group and are increasingly valued for their nutritional value. This shrub can produce in partially shaded areas, which is unsuitable for many other crops. The most cultivated raspberry is red, but there are also yellow and purple varieties.
Herbaceous new shoots begin to grow in spring, and usually become woody in August, turning into shoots. They bear fruit the next spring.
There are also varieties of remontant raspberries that produce a crop twice a year. They bear fruit in late summer and autumn on the apical part of the shoots germinated in the same year. The following year (June-July), the low part of the shoot gives a second fruiting.
The plant belongs to the Rosaceae family, and has the form of a bush with a height of 1 to 3 meters. Raspberries are not particularly demanding in cultivation, but need irrigation and pruning.
Raspberries have a shallow root system, so it’s important to remove any weeds that will compete for nutrients. Most often, raspberries are grown in rows at a distance of up to 2 meters, and between individual plants about 70-80 cm, which allows you to mulch the beds with grass mulch, wood chips, or process the aisles with a cultivator. This ensures good air circulation around the plants (reduces disease problems) and provides easy harvesting access from both sides of the bed.
Among fruits, blackberries are one of the simplest crops that are little affected by parasites and diseases, are not very demanding on soil, and are well resistant to both frost and heat. From perennial roots grow shoots that usually live for two years. In the first year of growth, the stems produce only leaves, in the second year the same stems bear flowers and fruit, and then die off at the end of that season. Since the plants are constantly producing new shoots, they can be expected to produce fruit every year.
To get a bountiful harvest of these berries, plants should be pruned annually and protected from weeds. A well-maintained blackberry bed will bear fruit for ten years or more before the original plants begin to dwindle and need to be replaced.
Important! Raspberries and blackberries need support, because without outside help, the shoots lie on the ground, where the sun’s rays do not fall.
Currant and gooseberry
Representatives of the genus ribes are more popular in Europe. Blackcurrant is one of the easiest shrubs to grow with small fruits and fragrant leaves. Plants are not picky about the soil, practically do not require pruning and centenarians.
One bush of currant or gooseberry can give a lot of fruits for a household.
Every spring they are composted and kept mulched to avoid competition with weeds.
Blackcurrant is a more vigorous bush, and can reach 2 meters in height. They can be placed both in the garden and on the edge of the garden. The plant adapts to different types of soil, but prefers those that are well ventilated and rich in organic matter. On less fertile soils, the yield is lower, but the fruits are more fragrant.
Berry bushes not only benefit from berries, but also attract bees. Raspberry bushes are self-pollinating, but the berries become larger after being visited by bees.
Care and planting of berry bushes
When is the best time to plant berry bushes in the fall? Fall is the best time to plant bare berry bushes. The best landing time is the beginning of October.
Berries can be planted in the container throughout the season. Excludes only periods of frost or heat as planting time. Berry bushes are planted to the same depth at which they were previously in a pot. A layer of mulch retains moisture in the soil.
At what distance are berry bushes planted? Dense berry bushes such as currants and gooseberries require a planting distance of 130 to 140 cm, and larger ones even up to 200 cm. Narrow and tall raspberry stems usually require significantly less space. Between the rows of plants leave from 150 to 200 centimeters.
How to plant berry bushes in the garden
Before planting, the berry bush should be dipped in water for an hour so that the roots can be properly saturated with moisture.
For container plants, dig a planting hole twice the size of the root ball so that the roots can grow well in loose soil.
For bare-rooted berry bushes, the planting hole may be slightly smaller, but still deep enough to accommodate the roots comfortably, with the top edge of the root ball flush with the ground.
They fill the hole with earth, shake the bush to fill the voids. Press the soil down and water well immediately after planting.
In the first few weeks after planting, the soil should always remain moist. In general, berry bushes are at risk of drought due to their shallow roots, especially during hot summers. Therefore, it is recommended to always mulch berry bushes in order to better retain moisture in the soil – first in early spring and then in summer. For this, grass clippings from lawns, leaves or chopped shrub trimmings are suitable.
Pruning berry bushes
Berry bushes need to be trimmed regularly. The timing and technique of pruning varies by species, with some shrubs cutting off old wood close to the ground after harvest, others at the end of winter.
If the bush is cut too infrequently, it will no longer be able to form new shoots, and the plant will age. To counteract this, the plant should be pruned annually after harvest.
Blackberry and raspberry stems are cut close to the ground. It is important that the young shoots remain, and only those that have previously borne fruit are pruned.
Thinning currants and gooseberries
In currants and gooseberries, lignified branches should also be removed near the ground. This thinning ensures that the plant remains healthy.
Only old shoots are cut, which can be recognized by their dark color.
Fertilizer berry bushes
In the spring, a little slow-release organic fertilizer is applied – until the fruits ripen. When planting, provide berry bushes with a sufficient amount of nutrients, fertilize 2-3 times a year. Do not use fertilizers during the fruit ripening phase. This negatively affects the taste of the berries. Therefore, spring is the best time to fertilize. Bushes planted in summer do not fertilize, only in spring. Raspberries and gooseberries can be fertilized with potash fertilizers.