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16 October 2014
Gardener's Corner

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Summer 2002
John Cushnie On...

Thinking Ahead
14 July 2003

This is the soft fruit season with the strawberries, raspberries and currants, black, white and red all ready for picking. Unfortunately it is
a short season for fresh, flavoursome fruit from your own garden.

It’s not too early to start thinking and planning for next year. Already the new young strawberry plantlets, called runners, are appearing at the sides of the parent plants. Treat these with care. As the plants form use ‘U’ shaped wire loops to peg them into small pots of compost plunged into the ground. Nip off any extension runners that try to grow from the first plantlet. Water as necessary. When the plant is well rooted separate it from its parent. Planted out to form a new strawberry bed, these early plants will crop next season with large fruit.

BlackcurrantsA few of this year’s fruiting plants can be selected now and encouraged to do well. Remove any runners that form and feed with a liquid, high nitrogen fertilizer to bulk up the plant. In September they can be lifted and potted up. Brought into a cold greenhouse in January they will be fruiting for you in late spring.

The time to prune blackcurrant bushes is immediately after the fruit has been harvested. Remove old branches as close to soil level as possible to encourage strong, new shoots from the base which will fruit next year. Try to keep the centre of the plant open for ease of picking and to allow sunlight to all the fruit. Feed at the same time with a balanced granular fertilizer. Mulching will conserve moisture and reduce the risk of weeds.

RaspberriesAs soon as the raspberries have finished fruiting cut out the canes which carried the berries as close to the ground as possible. Tie in the new shoots to the wire supports. Surplus shoots should be
removed at ground level. A deep mulch of old, rotted, farmyard manure will work wonders for next year’s crop. Planting autumn fruiting varieties of raspberries will extend the picking season.

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