Even at this late
stage you can influence the size of this summers
fruit crop. There is no taste to equal that
of home grown fruit. With freezers in every
home a glut of berries is a worry of the past.
The more there is the longer it will last.
Gooseberries will benefit from extra watering
during periods of drought. A good soaking will
swell the fruit from fruit set until harvest.
Mulch the damp soil to retain the moisture.
Keep the base of the bushes free from weeds
to encourage good circulation. A lack of air
will help American Gooseberry mildew spread
destroying the fruit. It is amazing how many
strawberries are lost to botryris disease, birds,slugs
and snails. Spacing the plants in the rows and
removing all weeds will allow air to circulate
and reduce the risk of fungal attacks on the
Netting the crop or growing them in cloches
will deter birds. Make sure the net is securely
fixed with no gaps. If a bird gets under the
net and cant escape it will sit there
and eat every strawberry. Bedding the trusses
of fruit on clean straw will keep them free
of soil and muddy water splash which can cause
grey mould on the ripening fruit. On a small
scale hunt slugs and snails after dark with
a torch. Leave traps for them using beer, milk
or citrus peel to attract them.
Raspberries are easier to pick because they
are higher up and there is no bending. Check
that all the fruiting canes (stems) are spaced
6 inches apart and tied to a horizontal wire.
If they are allowed to blow in the wind they
may snap off with a heavy crop. When picking
the fruit warn the pickers not to walk on the
new shoots (spawn) as these are tied in for
next years crop. Dont spray weeds in raspberries
in case the chemical travels along the root
area killing the main branches.
Blackcurrants fruit on the wood made the previous
year. It is essential they are pruned as soon
as the crop is picked. Remove the oldest branches,
cutting them as close to the ground as possible.
Strong new shoots will grow away from ground
level. Water and mulch to conserve moisture
around the roots. After pruning, feed the blackcurrant
plants with a general balanced fertilizer to
encourage strong growths which will bear fruit
If there is evidence of large, swollen leaf
buds which dont open your plants are suffering
from a pest called Blackcurrant Big Bud mite
which transmits virus to the plant. The crop
will deteriorate over a few years until the
plant dies. Dig up the plant and replace it
with a healthy bush but on a different site
well away from where the previous plant grew.