13th October 2009
The most commonly grown bush fruits are the berries and currants. Gooseberry, cranberry and blueberry along with black, white and red currants.
They have many advantages not least of which is the modest size of the mature bush. This allows the crop to be harvested without too much bending. They are also easily protected from birds by draping the plants with nets or horticultural fleece.
A sheltered, sunny position is ideal. Most soils are suitable although, with the exception of cranberries and blueberries, avoid waterlogged conditions. The cranberry is a swamp plant enjoying acid, wet ground.
It is possible to grow all the bush fruit in containers but the pots need to be large and, even then, they won’t crop as well as those planted in the garden.
Prune after the plants have finished fruiting cutting out crossing branches and those that are cluttering up the centre of the plant. An open bush will allow better circulation of air thus reducing the risk of fungal diseases. It will let sunlight in to help ripen the fruit.
With the currants cut out the oldest stems as close to soil level as possible. This will keep the plant compact producing strong new shoots from the base rather than half way up the existing branches.
Bush fruit are self-fertile and a single plant will crop well. In the case of blueberries planting two different varieties together seems to improve the yield.
If you select the varieties with care it will be possible to have fruit over a longer period with early, mid-season and late crops to harvest.
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